Artists 'Counting' on a collaboration

Local visual artists have collaborated with Zambian artists in an exhibition that will be staged at Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG).

"Titled And Counting", it is presented by Kauru Contemporary African Art, and curated by Tshegofatso Mabaso (SA) and Julia Taonga Kaseka (Zambia).

And Counting reflects on SA's 25 years of democracy, the internal construction of the nation that is South Africa and takes stock of this important moment in time.

The exhibition opened yesterday and runs until July 14.

It features the works of Aaron Mulenga, Daut Makala, Gladys Kalichini, Henry Tayali, Stary Mwaba, who are all from Zambia while SA is represented by Nicholas Hlobo, Nyaniso Dzedze, Ranjith Kally, Sam Nhlengethwa, Turiya Magadlela, Wesley Hlongwane, David Koloane and Ernest Cole.

And Counting is aimed at promoting conversations in Africa and internationally that change perceptions of the continent through contemporary art. According to the curators, it provides a platform for African contemporary artists and cultural practitioners to showcase contemporary art from the continent.

The project is focused on dialogue around social and economic cohesion, transformation and access within the creative sectors across the continent.

"And Counting initiates a conversation between South Africa and Zambia and engages with contemporary conditions, taking into consideration how advancement and progress are often measured through accumulation and the passing of time," says Kaseka.

Mabaso adds: "It seeks to engage archives as a means through which to confront the issue of collective histories while also looking at works that exist outside institutional archives and collections. The title of the exhibition questions the very nature of archives as ongoing sites of accumulation and history, while also questioning these ideas around collective and shared history in two very different contexts."

Mabaso holds a master's in history of art. Kaseka holds a BA in computer networks from the University of Zambia and art management from Berlin University of the Arts.

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