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Archive: Issue No. 37, September 2000

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.


26.09.00 Lisa Brice in China.
12.09.00 Paris Conference on the State of Visual Arts in Africa and the Diaspora.
05.09.00 Paris: 'Art in the World' 2000.

Lisa Brice in China

Cape Town artist Lisa Brice, who has been based in London for the past year, is currently exhibiting in China at the Upriver Club in Kunming, in Sichuan Province. The Club describes itself in a brochure as "a little ark of joy" in a busy urban milieu, and Brice reports that hundreds of people attended the opening of the show on September 16. The work shown was Brice's series on Cape Town gang hand signals, embroidered on to discs of camouflage material, and also works from her 'Staying Alive' series. Considerable press and TV coverage were generated by the opening. Brice's three-week residency in China has been arranged through the Triangle Arts Trust, and her itinerary also includes lectures at the Yunnan Art Institute and the Fine Art College of Sichuan. A reciprocal residency to Cape Town by Chinese artists is probable.

Paris Conference on the State of Visual Arts in Africa and the Diaspora

International recognition for the artists of Africa has increased considerably over the last decade - but there were still only two artists from this continent at the last Venice Biennale. Why? Are African artists being ghetto-ized in group shows and only too often overlooked for top contemporary mega-exhibitions? Is Africa still on the outside looking in?

Under the co-ordination of Florence Alexis of the Association Francaise d'Action Artistique, an international conference staged in Paris from September 14 to 17 will take a concentrated look at the state of visual arts in Africa and its diaspora with the aim of proposing and evaluating long-term goals and objectives in giving African artists more visibility and experience on a global level.

Among those expected to attend are Okwui Enwezor, director of the next Documenta, Salah Hassan, professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University, curator Jean-Hubert Martin, artist and critic Olu Oguibe, Lowery Sims, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Simon Njami of Revue Noire. From South Africa, will be director of the SANG Marilyn Martin, artist Bernie Searle and artist and editor of ArtThrob, Sue Williamson.

Discussions will focus both on theoretical and philosophical issues and also the practicalities surrounding the task of gaining a true appreciation and understanding of contemporary art production from Africa from the international art world.
One of the main challenges will be figuring out how art from the continent can be positioned in such a way as to retain its identity while still being regarded as contributing meaningfully to a global dialogue.

Report back next week.

Kathryn Smith

Kathryn Smith
Lethal Spaces #3A 2000
Digital c-print
34 x 48 cm

Paris: 'Art in the World' 2000

In 1997, Paris magazine Beaux Arts initiated 'Art in the World', an international networking event for artists and arts writers around the globe. The exhibition, featuring more than 50 international artists, was complemented by a week-long conference for critics and editors targeted by Beaux Arts for the quality of their respective publications. 'Art in the World' is coming around again, running from September 8 to November 8 this year, and this time featuring almost 85 artists. While the quality of the work on the show in 1997 was uneven, the event marks a highly publicised opportunity for artists to meet with key European gallerists, and for writers to explore critical thinking across a range of international contexts.

The original contact in 1997 for the first show was Brenda Atkinson, in her capacity as arts writer for the Mail & Guardian, identified by Beaux Arts as their preferred print media publication in South Africa. In 1998, Atkinson selected Jo Ractliffe and Tracey Rose to show new work in Paris. Second time around, Atkinson remains the contact here, and selected Johannesburg artists Stephen Hobbs and Kathryn Smith to make the trip. Watch this space for a report on the show.