This exhibition includes work of artists from the SADC region. Its curatorial placing attempts to initiate a discussion about the understanding of 'cultural capital' within the SADC region, while also trying to identify 'cultural currency' in relation the imagined and the geographic location that is Africa.It is acknowledged that while the intended discussion raises questions that cannot be sufficiently answered within the duration of the exhibition there is a hope that enough dialogue is stimulated to remind us of who we are and whether or not there can be a unified voice that reflects our respective histories.
Cultural Brokerage Africa Imagined (Act 1)
Cultural Brokerage: Africa Imagined (Act 1)The notion of 'Cultural Brokerage' within an African context recently received critical attention with Sylverster Ogbechie's 2010 essay 'The Curator as Cultural Broker: A Critique of the Curatorial Regime of Okwui Enwezor in the Discourse of Contemporary African Art' (2010). Ogbechie called for a more critical engagement with African curatorial projects highlighting the risk of appraising such individuals as Okwui Enwezor as cultural experts. Ogbechie acknowledged that "Enwezor's curatorial practice of the past decade (was) one of the most significant developments in the discourse of contemporary African art", but he is critical of the extent to which Enwezor's intellectual practice has had the effect of "negating a critical engagement with the history and development of modern and contemporary art in Africa itself" (Ogbechie 2010: np). Ogbechie found the cause of this neglect in Enwezor's curatorial focus onradical notions of contemporaneity built mainly on the practice of African artists who live and work in the West, and an unfailing interest in defining contemporary African art as a context that emerges with the postcolonial African subject (Ogbechie 2010: np).African Modernity has attracted extensive discussion around its constitution. Fortunately or unfortunately it is difficult to discuss cultural practice within African and the SADC region outside of historical context of monetary value and currency. Due to the extensive history of 'traditional African art' curators and cultural activists are looked upon (as suggested by Ogbechie's essay) as brokers and consultants. This proposal, exhibition and programming intends to situate the discussion initially within the SADC region and eventually through numerical acts (exhibitions) the African continent.The African Union (AU) is due to celebrate its 50th year in existence. This celebration will allow for country-specific reflection that highlights milestones in continent's history.
RATIONALEThe dialogue around cultural brokerage brings to question where 'Africa' is situated and how one assigns value to 'Africa and African-ness' given that "Africa is everywhere but nowhere, essentially described in the discourse as a non- location" (Ogbechie 2010: np).This raises the question of 'authenticity' with reference to African identity. The interpretation of African identity differs within global and local contexts. These differences can also be observed within the continent. The exhibition is significant because Africa has become a recurring subject of debate from within and outside the continent. Also in question with reference African identity, modernity and contemporaneity is who has a right to speak for or represent whom? Do notions of truth, origin and agency still have some significance or relevance to the contemporary?
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Visit the exhibit! 25 May - 30 June 2013
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