Title page for ETD etd-10242008-120213


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Wepener, Leila
Email leila.wepener@gmail.com
URN etd-10242008-120213
Document Title Artspace : creating a contemporary African art gallery for the city of Pretoria
Degree MArch(Prof)
Department Architecture
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Mr J Deppe Supervisor
Keywords
  • contemporary African art
  • African art gallery
Date 2000-04-03
Availability unrestricted
Abstract

The year 2007 is significant for Africa and African artists as “[t]his is the first time a major exhibition of contemporary African art will be held in Africa” (Clive Kellner, curator of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Africa Remix Exhibition Catalogue 2007:9). Africa Remix, an exhibition of 85 contemporary African artists from all regions of the continent and displaying a variety of skills and styles, provides and overview of contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora in a single exhibition. Previous exhibitions of contemporary African art, namely Africa Explores (exhibited at New York’s Museum for African Art, 1991) and Seven Stories about African Art (exhibited at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1995) were never exhibited on the continent. After having toured Düsseldorf, London, Paris, Tokyo and Stockholm, Johannesburg is the last stop for Africa Remix and the only stop in Africa. It is important that Johannesburg managed to host this exhibition, both to show that Africa has the capacity and fortitude to host exhibitions of this scale, and for bringing the art of Africa to Africa. It has taken enormous efforts in fundraising to secure this opportunity. Yet, it also points to the lack of proper exhibition spaces both to host travelling exhibitions of this size and to provide a home for permanent collections of contemporary African art. Africa has long been subject to plundering of her riches: first through outright slavery, then through the exploitation of mineral reserves (often leading to concurrent exploitation of people), and in the contemporary world through the more subtle but potentially no less devastating “harvesting” (supported by the inherently unequal nature of global trade) of intellectual resources, such as items of cultural heritage, indigenous knowledge, and the production of scientists, writers, and artists. Africa needs to take the responsibility for making the most of what we have, here, before exporting it to the rest of the globe. Therefore, for art, there needs to be a gallery to support and exhibit the numerous collections of contemporary African art currently locked in storage. This will allow our art to be housed on the continent of its birth. Furthermore, a gallery such as this will contribute to cultural creation on the continent by the fact of its existence, providing space for and stimulating debate, performance and artistic production. This dissertation will therefore serve as an investigation into the interface between art and architecture. An alternative artspace to exhibit primarily but not exclusively contemporary African art is proposed for the city of Pretoria.

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© University of Pretoria 2007

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