Emerging curators workshop held on Robben Island
by Kim Gurney
VANSA, the Visual Arts Network of South Africa, last month hosted a two-week workshop on Robben Island for emerging curators. International and local experts gave presentations during the first week to the delegates, who spent the second week in intensive workshops. The workshop was facilitated by Joseph Gaylard and Storm Janse van Rensburg and took place from November 20 to December 1. A group of emerging curators was augmented by several more established curators and all were addressed by a number of international contributors.
The broad aim was to provide a forum to share experiences, ideas and to initiate collaborative curatorial projects, with a stated focus on 'the opportunities and challenges facing curatorial practice in contemporary African contexts'. Emphasis was also placed on the role of the visual arts and curatorial practice in social change and activism.
In his keynote address, cultural activist and curator Zayd Minty said the idea of the workshop had been a pet project of his for some time. 'The curator is a very important element in the cultural machine today,' he said, '... It is a potential position of great power so there is an extra importance on the need to interrogate and consider it in context. This workshop is to share and interrogate practices, to network and to grow.'
International hosts were Giovanni Carmine (Switzerland), Eddie Chambers (UK), Bisi Silva (Nigeria/UK) and N'Goneé Fall (Senegal/France).
The emerging curators on the workshop were: Beathur Baker, Angela de Jesus, Abdul Dube, Yvette Dunn, Amos Letsoalo, Fatima Maal, Ernett Nkwana, Cindy Poole, Rita Potenza, Sarie Potter, Loyiso Qanya, Motseokae Klas Thibeletsa and Ijeoma Uche-Okeke. They were joined by established curators Christopher du Preez, Sylvie Groschatau-Phillips, Andrew Lamprecht, Sipho Mdanda, Thivynaidoo Perumal Naiken, Gabi Ngcobo and Nonto Ntombela. Guests included Emma Bedford, Carol Brown, Khwezi Gule, Clive Kellner, Moleleki Ledimo, Zayd Minty, Monna Mokoena and Brett Pyper.