South Project to take place in South Africa in October 2007
by Michael Smith
The South Project has been developed to foster south-south cultural exchange. Previous gatherings have been in Melbourne, Wellington and Santiago, and the Johannesburg gathering planned for 2007 will complete the circuit of the southern hemisphere.These gatherings are intended to bring together artists and writers from across the south to discuss how they might work together. The project will culminate in a festival of the south, which is planned for Melbourne in February 2009.
South Africa's involvement in the process has been identified as 'a strong feature'. Mbulelo Msamane's call for the 'rediscovery of the ordinary' at the Melbourne 2004 gathering, and the keynote addresses by Clifford Charles and Khwezi Gule at the Wellington and Santiago gatherings respectively, have ensured this. In 2006 the South Project produced a publication entitled Common Goods: Cultures Meet Through Craft to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of Satyagraha in Johannesburg.
The project welcomes any expressions of interest from South Africans who would like to participate in the gathering in some way. In particular, those who have an interested in south-south exchange are encouraged to participate. Themes or issues of major interest to the project are methods for sustainability in art practice, the extension of African ideas outside the continent, how individual artists reflect collective identity, and innovative recycling techniques.
The project includes a broad spectrum of cultural production, with an emphasis on visual forms, including artistic craft, design, product development and new collective methods of visual art practice.