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.