FIFA World Cup 2010, Press Review

12. May 2010

African creativity and beauty on display for 2010 audiences

Curator Thembinkosi Goniwe at the opening of the exhibit at Museum Africa in Newtown
A new exhibit at the Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg will showcase works from contemporary artists from Africa and the Diaspora during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Organisers hope the exhibit will show South Africa’s commitment to hosting a truly African event, and give artists from the continent exposure to a global audience.

SPace: Currencies in Contemporary African Art will be open to the public free of charge from 11th May until 11th July 2010. It will showcase works from artists like Willem Boshoff, Gabrielle Goliath, Mary Sibande and David Koloane. Some artists, like Imad Mansour and El Hassan Echair from Morocco are exhibiting in South Africa for the first time.

The exhibit is endorsed by FIFA as an official host city Johannesburg event, and is sponsored by the City of Johannesburg, the Department of Arts and Culture and Telkom.

“All Africans are in this World Cup together – that is the message we are sending far and wide tonight as we celebrate the opening of this exhibition,” said Telkom Group CEO, Reuben September.

September said showcasing the work of African artists is a way of demonstrating Telkom’s passion for, and involvement in the continent and its people. “We are inextricably linked to this continent and we want to see our continent succeed,” he emphasized.

The exhibit is curated by South Africans Thembinkosi Goniwe and Melissa Mboweni. Goniwe said at the exhibition opening that they wanted to have fun with the themes of intimacy, pleasure, beauty and play, while showing the beautiful things Africa has to offer to the global audience focused on South Africa for the duration of the World Cup.

“You don’t see the creativity and beauty of Africa on CNN and BBC,” said Goniwe. "The Exhibition is a creative and an intellectual space for African artists, curators, writers and various audiences to engage in dialogues on culture, aesthetics, politics and mobility.”

The exhibition title alludes to two notions: space and pace. A statement from the organisers explained, “Space is wherein ideas are negotiated and meaning produced through various human activities and social practices, while pace refers to speed, the rate at which change or advancement of such activities and practices takes place in society”.

Curator Melissa Mboweni said the works that are showcased were chosen through a process of consultation with other curators on the continent who had a better knowledge of what was happening within their own geographical space, and could recommend artists who were doing interesting work.

Mboweni said that, while the dialogue around contemporary African art has been taking place for some time, the fact that this exhibit is happening during the World Cup distinguishes it from similar events. “On some level we’re picking up the stompies of those dialogues that have been taking place and sort of putting our own twist on it,” said Mboweni.

Soccer fans aren’t usually associated with art lovers, but Mboweni said they hope the exhibit can speak to soccer fans on some level “if they are looking for a different perspective and a different experience to dispel their perceptions on Africa.”

Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile said that the exhibition will strengthen efforts to develop the African contemporary art industry.

“We are also encouraged that this exhibition will add to the growing body of knowledge on African contemporary art. Equally encouraging is that this will be done by Africans themselves telling their own stories, reflecting on their own personal experiences, proudly re-affirming the saying that: nothing about us, without us,” said Mashatile.

Linda Krige

Source: SA GoodNews

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