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Big boost for African art

By Patience Bambalele | Mar 24, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WHILE soccer lovers will will have a great time during the World Cup, watching football, visual arts enthusiasts will also have something to celebrate.

WHILE soccer lovers will will have a great time during the World Cup, watching football, visual arts enthusiasts will also have something to celebrate.

A huge contemporary exhibition featuring visual artists from Africa and the diaspora will be staged at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg, to coincide with the Fifa 2010 World Cup.

Titled SPpace: Currencies in Contemporary African Art, the exhibition opens on May 11 and runs until July.

The event's curators are Thembinkosi Goniwe and Melissa Mboweni.

Artists Berni Searle, Willem Boshoff, Gabrielle Goliath, Mary Sibande, Barthelemy Toguo, Godfried Donkor, James Muriuki, Arlene Wandera, Nathalie Bikoro, Miriam Syowia Kyambi, Kudzanai Chiurai, David Koloane, Alison Kearney, Zen Marie, Dominique Zinkpe and Billie Zangewa will be part of the exhibition.

Mboweni says SPaceembodies two notions - space and pace - which signify contexts and tempos that are part of societal make-up.

Defining the concept Mboweni says: "Space is wherein ideas are negotiated and meaning produced through various human activities and social practices, while pace is speed, the rate at which change or advancement of such activities and practices take place in society."

Mboweni adds that our preoccupation is with ideas, experiences and practices of contemporary African artists, curators and intellectuals.

"We are interested in the creative and intellectual ways in which they engage and reflect on a variety of personal, social, cultural and political matters.

"We take space as a phenomenon constituted by and constitutive of human, cultural, social, political and economic relations."

Goniwe says exhibitions such as this one are imperative because they provide the public with the opportunity to pursue a dialogue with art and to appreciate and reflect on social issues and human experiences.

"It is a product of, and acquires meaning through, such relations of which art is an integral practice. Art is space in itself," Mboweni says. "It is a site and force through, and with, which artists negotiate ideas and produce meaning in their engagement with today's world.

"Yet, art occupies various spaces that range from the privacy of the artist's mind and studio to public exhibition sites and the chambers of collectors.

"We have been communicating with curators from other regions and that made it easy to choose participating artists."

Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile says: "This exhibition will strengthen efforts to develop the African contemporary art industry, ensuring that it takes its rightful place among other forms of artistic expression."


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