Something to ask? A comment to make on ArtThrob? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org All queries answered by Paul Edmunds, Feedback Editor.
ArtThrob is receiving a steady stream of letters on the subject of reinstating the Johannesburg Biennale. Some people have added comments to their names, and a selection is published here. If you have not done so already, please read the petition initiated by Kendell Geers, below, and sign. All names will be forwarded to Deputy Minister Bridget Mabandla at the Department of Arts and Culture.
From: Justine Lipson email@example.com
The Johannesburg Civic Gallery wholeheartedly supports the idea of reinstating the Johannesburg Biennale. Art forms of every sort are being strangled in this country. If we have any hopes of being a viable, cultural tourist attraction, never mind providing our own citizens with a fantastic cultural experience, then we need to move in a very different direction to that happening at the moment.
From: Katrien Reist firstname.lastname@example.org
Please help to keep this priceless good, the freedom of speech, healthy and alive. Visual Arts and the (international) discourse that comes with it, provides us with an invaluable source of information and enables to create new ways of thinking, which effect our future and that of our children in the most positive, creative and peaceful way possible. Art is not an abundance of luxury for the happy few, art is elemental for the construction of our society.
Katrien Reist - independent curator, based in Berne, Switzerland.
From: Henri Vergon email@example.com
We want it again. We need it. We will make it.
From: Mark Attwood firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Johannesburg city administrators,
I would very much like to see the event re-instated.
Mark Attwood � Director, The Artists' Press
From: Paule Sachs email@example.com
I am sympathetic and supply my name but you don't actually state what you want it for. If you'd had a comment like "I support the continuance of the Jbg Biennial" or such it would have made me more comfortable. After all, in theory, you could be using my name in a petition to clear the streets of hawkers!
From: Ruth Rosengarten firstname.lastname@example.org
Just wanted to add my name to this support list!
From: Riki Mare email@example.com
I underwrite the plea for the Johannesburg Bienale to be reinstated. It
gives a valuable platform for artists from all walks of life to showcase
their art and expose the public to art they may not otherwise see. Please
add my name to the list.
From: Gordon Froud firstname.lastname@example.org
GORDON FROUD ARTIST TEACHER AND ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN BOTH PREVIOUS BIENALLES. IN USA, MEXICO, LONDON AND EUROPE, I HAVE MET PEOPLE WHO HAVE SPOKEN WITH HIGH REGARD ABOUT THE BIENNALES OF JHB AND HAVE BEEN ASKING ABOUT THE THIRD ONE. GORDART@HOTMAIL.COM.
From: Brian L. Bishop email@example.com
I wish to offer my support for the Johannesburg Biennial.
Brian Bishop - Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, NC, USA
From: Penny Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org
Save the Jhb Biennale!
Penny Holmes,Visual Arts Educator,London.
From: Kendell Geers email@example.com
When Ivo Mesquita was recently fired from the Sao Paulo Bienal for no apparent reason it was the efforts of the global art community that made the bureaucrats realise the consequences and reconsider their decision. There is sadly a precedent that few are aware of and even fewer speak of. In 1997, following the international acclaim and success of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennial, artistic director Okwui Enwezor and key members of his team were fired without reason, in addition to which the Johannesburg City council decided to close the exhibition a month earlier than had been scheduled. As a result of the efforts of a few individuals the exhibition managed to stay open as scheduled but the biennial has not survived.
More than 3 years has since passed and every effort to begin the process that would culminate in the third Johannesburg Biennial has failed. As it stands there will never be another Johannesburg Biennial ever again. Neither the Johannesburg City Council nor the National Government's Department of Arts and Culture have given any reasons for this cancellation. Key amongst the reasons inferred is that the Biennial is not perceived as being important to either South Africa or to the international art community.
You can make a difference! If the South African government is made aware of the important role this exhibition plays in life of every african artist as well as the significance it has for the international art community it will have no option but to change its policy. If the Johannesburg City Council is made to realise how this single exhibition has changed the lives and careers of so many key South African artists, both black and white, then perhaps they would change the minds as to its vital importance. As it stands the politicians are listening to the voices of a few individuals in whose interests its lies that the exhibition remain canceled forever. Such an important exhibition should not get caught up in personal politics and hidden agendas.
If the South African government is made aware of the importance this exhibition they will have no option but to begin the process once again. Please now do for Johannesburg, for South Africa and for the entire African continent what you have done for Sao Paulo:
PLEASE HELP THE JOHANNESBURG BIENNIAL TO SURVIVE BY EMAILING YOUR NAME AND TITLE TO ARTTHROB WITH THE SUBJECT HEADER" JHB BIENNIAL". WE WILL FORWARD THESE TO THE RELEVANT OFFICE.
From: mustafa maluka firstname.lastname@example.org
In reponse to your reply to the following question,did you forget about my Melanin Millennium video, my photographs of myself and also Moshekwa Langa's True Confessions as a Disco Queen?
- Mustafa Maluka is referring to the letter from Thando Mama printed below. Thanks for the input, Mustafa. Viewers can find information about the work mentioned by checking the Search Engine by artist or work title. Maluka's work, in which the artist questions black stereotypes and asserts his pride in his identity was first seen on the 'Staking Claims' exhibition curated by Emma Bedford at the Granary in Cape Town last year, and Moshekwa Langa's True Confessions of a Disco Queen was a video of the artist shown on last year's Vita Awards show at the Sandton Gallery.
From: : Thando Mama email@example.com
- Thando, the only person we can think of who is investigating these sorts of issues is photographer and painter Zwelethu Mthethwa. Put his name into ArthThrob's search engine, I'm sure lots will come up. (I'm thinking particularly of work related to one I mentioned in a review of a show held last year in Cape Town entitled Staking Claims. The work was called 'Vanity at Frankies' and is, I'm certain, part of a body of work which explore similar themes. A catalogue of the show was published. Try emailing the National Gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org for help in this regard.
From: Richard Strewer email@example.com>
Please could somebody help me, I would like to find out more about aerial photography (techniques, tips etc etc etc.) Has anybody got some info or could put me in touch with some good literature and or people.
Postal address: P O Box 271