Joburg launches Artists of Africa

Joburg launches Artists of Africa
The Artists of Africa was launched late last week by the City of Johannesburg and the Department of Arts and Culture. VIP's and the media gathered at the Joburg Theatre for a briefing on the official 2010 FIFA World Cup Host City Johannesburg event.

Melissa Mboweni, curator, speaking at the Artists of Africa media launch
The pan African Contemporary art exhibition will be hosted at Museum Africa, Newtown, Johannesburg from 11 May to 11 July 2010. Curators, artists, writers and poets will collaborate on the project in order to showcase African talent.

The event was attended by MEC for Sports, Arts Culture and Recreation: Nelisiwe Mbatha Mtinkulu; MMC for Community Development of Johannesburg: Bafana Sithole, executive director 2010: Sibongile Mazibuko; director of Arts, Culture and Heritage: Steven Sack; COO of the LOC: Nomfanelo Magwentshu and the 2010 Joburg Soccer Legends.

Professor Pitika Ntuli opened the ceremony with a poem to capture the essence of the event.

Executive director of the 2010 office, Sibongile Mazibuko stated that the City of Johannesburg (COJ) was pleased to be partnering with The Department of Arts and Culture on this initiative. Mazibuko added that the COJ, the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) are proud of this project that will show benefits to and promote the arts industry of Africa.

Says curator Melissa Mboweni: “This exhibition will be promoted globally to people of all races, ages and cultures as it aims to educate and portray African art for what it is truly worth.”

Curator Thembinkosi Goniwe outlined the exciting curatorial concept of “Space - currencies in African contemporary art”. Thembinkosi drew attention to the relevance that the words “space” and “pace” hold for art and soccer. The defending of one's “space” and the attacking of another's is of much relevance to the game of soccer.

Space is however an important concept when related to the arts industry. This includes issues relating to the “space” that African contemporary art occupies within the global arts industry and the interaction that an artwork has with the “space” that it occupies.

The word “pace” refers to speed. Soccer players have become renowned for their ability to either use speed or talent to slow down the period of play for the benefit of the team.

“Pace” can also refer to the speed at which the African contemporary art industry is or is not changing and can bring to mind what affect we expect the 2010 FIFA World Cup to have on this industry.

In her closing, Mazibuko encouraged all art lovers, media, soccer legends, curators, artists, poets, government officials for their support in steering this project now and beyond 2010.

The sound of the iconic South African vuvuzela, gourmet food and a performance by Khanyo Maphumulo ended the occasion.

Space "Currencies in Contemporary African art" at the Museum Africa

Huge art show planned for 2010

Written by Ndaba Dlamini
Friday, 18 September 2009
An exhibition of works collected from around the continent will add an artistic legacy to the football tournament, and show Africa to the world.
ARTISTS of Africa, an art and craft exhibition featuring the work of artists from all over the continent, will take place at Museum Africa in 2010.

Head curator of Artists of Africa Thembinkosi Goniwe
Billed as one of the main attractions during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, the exhibition will run at the Newtown venue from 11 May to 11 July 2010. It is expected to attract thousands of visitors during the month-long World Cup, which kicks off on 11 June 2010.
At the official launch of the exhibition on Wednesday, 16 September at the Joburg Theatre Complex in Braamfontein, the head of the City's 2010 unit, Sibongile Mazibuko, said the exhibition was a City of Johannesburg initiative that was meant to augment the World Cup as a truly African event.
"This is an important pan-African contemporary art exhibition recognised as an official 2010 World Cup host city event. We are calling on African artists from all over the continent to participate," she said.
The member of the mayoral committee for community development, Bafana Sithole, said every passing day brought the 2010 World Cup closer. Artists of Africa was conceptualised by the City to use the pressure from hosting the football tournament to ensure that a lasting arts legacy was left after the competition was over.
"When the World Cup has come and gone, there should be something of value left behind ... This exhibition is meant to portray the continent's diverse cultures and for African artists to showcase their work. It is also meant to draw global attention to Africa. The City is proud to host the event," said Sithole.
Also present at the launch was the MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation, Nelisiwe Mbatha-Mtimkulu, who said the exhibition would become part of South Africa's heritage and at the same time, expose the work of African artists to the rest of the world.
"The exhibition will develop the contemporary African art industry and thus give an opportunity for African artists to make a decent living for themselves."

Head of the City’s 2010 unit, Sibongile Mazibuko
At the launch, a sneak preview of what people could expect from the exhibition was beamed on to a huge screen. The video showed some artwork from African artists.
"From what I have heard and seen about the Artists of Africa exhibition so far, the best football has to be played at the 2010 World Cup for people to attend matches, otherwise this exhibition will draw most of the crowds. The exhibition features an exciting programme that the City is putting together," he said.
Giving a brief outline of the exhibition, the head curator of Artists of Africa, Thembinkosi Goniwe, said it was entitled Space.
"We are working towards a projection of what Africa is all about. But Africa is complex; that is why we have given the exhibition the title Space - it gives us space to try to map out this continent."
Goniwe said the exhibition would also give artists space to produce ideas about "beautiful and pleasurable things". He would not name any of the participating artists, however: "This will be a surprise," he said.
In preparing for the exhibition, 11 curators were working in different parts of Africa, looking for "diversity".
"The exhibition is also a creative and an intellectual space for African artists, curators, writers and various audiences to engage in dialogue on culture, aesthetics, politics and mobility," Goniwe explained.
One of the curators, Melissa Mboweni, said the exhibition would benefit the visual arts and, in turn, Africa.
"The visual arts, generally speaking, have little voice and are not acknowledged as a significant medium, and the role they play outside of supposed aristocracy and investment. Art has always brought to attention important and salient issues.
"It has also influenced how issues like HIV/Aids, poverty, social snobbery and the like can be seen in a different light," she said.