STORY Towards Intersections

Towards Intersections: Negotiating Subjects, Objects & Contexts

To coincide with Africa Month in May 2015, !KAURU Contemporary Art from Africa y The Black Collectors Forum, with support from The Department Of Arts & Culture, is presenting a month long series of art exhibitions, events, discussions and outreach programs in Johannesburg and Pretoria throughout May and June.

STORY Towards Intersections
ABOVE: Blessing Ngobeni, Bellies of Freedom.

‘Towards Intersections: Negotiating Subjects, Objects and Contexts’ is an exhibition curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe, featuring a range of renowned artists working in a variety of mediums from all over Africa. Make sure not to miss out on the exhibition programme, happening at the following venues until the end of June:

21 May – 22 June 2015, ‘Towards Intersections: Negotiating Subjects, Objects and Contexts’ at UNISA Art Gallery. (Muckleneuk Campus, Kgorong Building, Ground Floor, Preller Street, Pretoria).

28 May – 30 June 2015, ‘Introspection…Where Art Thou’ exhibition at Wits Art Museum (1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein).

29 May – 30 June 2015, ‘Towards Intersections: Negotiating Subjects, Objects and Contexts’ at Museum Africa (Bree Street, Newtown Johannesburg).

This year, “‘Towards Intersections’ explores a conversation between artists, intellectuals and cultural brokers operating in Africa and its Diaspora,” says artist, art historian curator and lecturer Goniwe, who believes it is “of importance to forge relationships between South Africa, its neighbouring and distant countries and African Diasporas. Themes to be explored include socio-political and historical shifts; cultural and aesthetic concerns; human relations, experiences, ideals and utopias – all speaking to questions of subject-hood, object-ness and context or situation.”

The artists involved in ‘Towards Intersections’ are from all corners of the continent and the diaspora and have showcased their works all over the world: Kay Hassan (South Africa), Berry Bickle (Mozambique), Andrew Tshabangu (South Africa), Anthea Moys (South Africa), Blessing Ngobeni (South Africa), Neliswa Xaba (South Africa), Mary Evans (Nigeria/London), Dana Whabira (Zimbabwe), Ato Malinda (Netherlands/Kenya), Aida Muluneh (Ethiopia), Pierrot Men (Madagascar), Breeze Yoko (South Africa), Cyrus Kabiru (Kenya), Ed Young (South Africa), Buhlebezwe Siwana (South Africa), Abduraza Awofeso (Nigeria), Steve Bandoma (DRC), y Rael Salley (USA).

‘Towards Intersections’ opened on 21 May at 6pm with an exhibition at Pretoria’s UNISA Art Gallery, which will close on 22 June 2015. Berry Bickle, Kay Hassan, Mary Evans, Aida Muluneh, Andrew Tshabangu,Cyrus Kabiru,Steve Bandoma, Abdulrazaq Awofeso, Ed Young, Pierrot Men y Dana Whabira are on show.

“’Towards Intersections’ is an exploration to establish seams and points of exchanges; it is a contact zone in which to transact cultural economies and intellectual perspectives articulated from personal and socio-political interests. Of importance is the employment of these perspectives to establish discourses that question both historical and contemporary conditions to open up future potentialities,” says Goniwe. “It’s an intersection of different artists, countries, experiences, venues and mediums from sculpture to painting, graffiti, video and performance art.”

‘Introspection… Where art Thou?’ which opened on 28 May at WAM in Braamfontein, is curated by Ruzy Rusike. The show engages with the position of the self in the new South Africa, taking la auto-reflexión as its meditative means through the visual works of art. It features young artists Asanda Kupa, Palesa Mopeli, Busi Senong, Quinton Edward Williams and Alphabet Zoo (Minenkulu Ngoyi and Isaac Zavale)

‘Towards Intersections: Negotiating Subjects, Objects and Contexts’ at Museum Africa in Newtown showcases the work of Anthea Moys, Nelisiwe Xaba, Ato Malinda, Buhlebezwe Siwana, Breeze Yoko y Rael Salley.

All events are free and open to the public

“The exhibition operates as a platform to promote the conversations between artists in the continent and the diaspora. The artworks selected are also a means to promote continental understanding of our heritage, as well as engender respect for our different cultural backgrounds. We seek to promote inter-African artistic products, which we believe are central to the achievement of sustainable economic development, job creation and building sustainable livelihoods,” says !KAURU’s project director, Tshepiso Mohlala.

“This is a project of multiple subjects and diverse objects from discrepant contexts. The ambition is to explore the extent to which creative productions and intellectual exchanges could be forged whilst reflective negotiations of utopias could be advanced,” Goniwe adds. “Such is a project interested in subjects and objects that are mobile, diverse, expansive, ambiguous, contradictory and unpredictable. Although the concept of intersecciones is intentionally open for engagement and interpretation, artists have been invited to present works that offer a critique of and lessons from history, reflect on contemporary complexities, and project or imagine futures.”

Mohlala elaborates, "!Kauru Contemporary Art from Africa is a platform for artists within the continent and the diaspora to showcase their artworks, create greater awareness and show appreciation of our own Contemporary art from the continent. The project aims to sensitise our African audiences to the value of their own contemporary art production and to promote appreciation of the quality of contemporary art from the continent.”

ABOUT THE BLACK COLLECTORS FORUM: At the closing of the exhibition in July 2014, The Black Collectors Forum was launched. This is a platform to create a network of African art collectors and develop new audiences for African Contemporary Art. The Black Collectors Forum is a platform for discerning groups who share the specific interest of collecting African contemporary art and are seeking a unique and personal engagement with the art and the artists who create it. Each event provides Forum members with not only an insight into some of the most exciting African contemporary art being conceived today, but it also introduces them to artists, curators and other major collectors and people in the industry.

Thembinkosi Goniwe is an artist, art historian and curator, having lectured at the University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Fort Hare, and Vaal University of Technology. In addition to contributing essays in various publications Goniwe has participated in residencies, conferences, symposia, public lectures and workshops locally and internationally. A mentor to young artists, curators and scholars, his contribution to the field of visual arts extends to undertaking external examinations, adjudicating art competitions and moderating panel discussions.

Selected exhibitions that Goniwe has curated include Dialogues with Masters: Visual Perspectives on the Two Decade of Democracy, FNB Joburg Art Fair (2014); Where Do I End You Begin, Edinburgh Arts Festival (2014); Impressions of Roke’s Drift: The Jumuna Collection, Durban Art Gallery (2013), Museum Africa in Johannesburg (2014), Grahamstown National Arts Festival (2014) and Iziko South African National Gallery (2014); Desire: Ideal Narratives in Contemporary South African Art, 54th Venice Biennale, Venice (2011); SPace: Currencies in Contemporary Africa Art, Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa (2010); and Koma + Ulwaluko: Politics and Poetics of Making Manhood, Polokwane Art Museum (2010).

Goniwe has edited publications some of which include ARTsouthÁFRICA (December Issue 2014), Becomo Art Centre: Art Sake (Johannesburg: PoroCreatives, 2014), Mary Sibande: The Purple Shall Govern (Johannesburg: Gallery MOMO and Standard Bank Art Gallery: 2013), Visual Century: South African Art in Context, Volume Four 1990-2007 (Johannesburg: Wits University Press 2011), and SPace: Currencies in Contemporary African Art (Pretoria & New York: UNISA Press and African World Press, 2012).