Tag Archives: Africa

CFC: SAVVY Journal 5th Edition

Savvy logo CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS 5th EDITION SAVVY JOURNAL 

At The Shrine

Reflections, Reciprocalities and Reverberations: Fine Art and Music

The fifth edition of the SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art will explore the influence of music on contemporary art practices and map interfaces between visual media, fine art, and music in the African and African diaspora context. The title of this collection, “At the Shrine” is a reference to Fela Kuti‘s Shrine Nightclub and concert venue; a cultural space and an epitome of a social sculpture. This music venue captures our vision of the links between visual expression, music, and critical inquiry.

The mutual relationship between music and fine art, which goes back to time immemorial, manifests itself on different levels. Both artistic languages inform each other in diverse enriching ways. Some of these points of intersection that have crystallized and proven to be ground-breaking in a variety of disciplines in recent decades include, but are not limited to: Performance/ Performativity - e.g. the enigmatic blend of music and performance art, as in the case of Les Têtes Brulées, or the socio-political vigour channelled through the audio and visual of Fela Kuti’s music, which has since been an important source of inspiration for many visual artists; Photography - e.g. the presence of James Brown’s music in Malick Sidibe’s photography, the synergy between Johannesburg’s jazz scene and a whole generation of Drum photographers, or the field of music portraiture championed by the likes of Samuel Nja Kwa; Video - ranging from video art, as in the case of Goddy Leye’s “We Are The World”, to music video clips featuring a variety of musical styles from Azonto, through Coupé Decalé or Kwaito to Rai that have completely transformed the production and consumption of popular culture in Africa; Illustration, Patterning, and Painting - which have been essential in the making of outstanding record covers and album posters; the interconnectedness between music and fashion design; the influence of the likes of Sun Ra on Afrofuturism; Experimental Composition and Sound Art as in the case of Emeka Ogboh; Theatre/ Theatricality - the links in popular theatre traditions between multimedia theatre groups that rely on popular music bands and sign-board painters, such as in Ghanaian and Nigerian Concert Party traditions; Electronica - artists, musicians are creatively reusing music software, online resources, and mobile phone technologies to refigure older styles of music, dance, communication and visual imaging. Some of these forms are explicitly understood as art while others are ephemeral forms of expression. Street Art – graffiti, spoken word, poetry, street dance are forms that link musical, political and counter-cultural expression.

This edition of SAVVY Journal is not intended as an anthology of music and fine art. Instead, we   ask contributors to investigate where disciplines meet, how genres are demarcated, and what emerges from their various encounters, as well as explore the nexus between performativity, fine art, music and technology. Indeed we are concerned with the ways in which ideas of genre and modality are themselves made and unmade in artistic practice. We are interested in articles on the role of sound appropriation in the conceptualisation of art works and of visual aspects in the creation, performance and consumption of sound and music.

Furthermore, this edition will explore and identify those artists who, using various textures and formats, work on this crossroad of sound and vision. Also, from a more general point of view, we are interested in reflections on how the encounter of image and sound in popular music has influenced culture and society. The impact of soundtracks on social and political movements on and beyond the continent would be another fascinating topic.

For this edition, the SAVVY Journal editorial will be enriched by the following guest-editors:

Dr. Hauke Dorsch (African Music Archives, Mainz), Ntone Edjabe (Chimurenga / Pan African Space Station, Cape Town) and Prof. Jesse Weaver Shipley (Haverford College, Philadelphia).

We invite essays from writers of all backgrounds – artists, curators, art historians, and theoreticians, scholars – not exceeding 3500 words in length, discussing the above mentioned or related issues.

Additionally, we are interested in more general articles such as artist-features, exhibition reviews and previews of circa 1500 words.

For more information please visit www.savvy-journal.com

Submissions to: editorial@savvy-journal.com

Deadline: 15th August 2013

Modalities:

  • Manuscripts with max. 3500 words in length, as text document WITHOUT formatting
  • Author’s names and short biography of ca. 100 words at the end of the article
  • Texts must be accompanied by five keywords
  • Manuscripts must be submitted in English or German. All German texts should also be accompanied by an English translation
  • All bibliographic references must be included in the document’s last page
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Do NOT  use the footnote or endnote facility in your word-processing program; just add the notes, numbered, at the end of the main text
  • VERY IMPORTANT: please include the following info: – artist’s (or author’s) name in CAPTIONS, title of work must be in italic, date of work, media, dimensions, collection (or place of exhibition), photo credits. e.g._: Jane Alexander, The Butcher Boys, 1985/86 (plaster sculpture), National Gallery of Arts, Cape Town, South Africa.
SAVVY | art.contemporary.african
SAVVY | kunst.zeitgenössisch.afrikanisch
http://www.savvy-journal.com
editorial@savvy-journal.com
Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (Chief-Editor)
Andrea Heister (Dep. Chief-Editor)
SAVVY Journal c/o SAVVY Contemporary e.V.
Richard Str. 43/44
12005 Berlin
Germany

CFC: Savvy | art.contemporary.african

Call for Contributions for the 4th edition of savvy|art.contemporary.african. journal.

“Curating: Expectations and Challenges”

Contemporary African Art looks back at a vibrant history of  ‘presentation tactics’ and curatorial conceptualisation strategies within the different frameworks of biennials, independent projects, museum exhibitions, and even ethnographic collections.  Over the last 100 years, the ways of exhibition-making changed profoundly and  particularly within the field of Non-Western art one can perceive a change of parameters of curating – especially since a  generation of Non-Western curators decided to take over the reins and seize the sceptre, which was until the late 80s mostly in the hands of some Western curators, the Western art market and its critique. The debate on “how, who, and where to show” has increased fiercely in the last 20 years. So we now pose the questions again in a bid to deliberate on current curatorial theories and practices in the framework of Contemporary African Art.

What are the prominent issues of display and curating that inform and condition exhibition making? Which curatorial concepts (past or current) do you consider seminal and which improvable? Where and how do artists position themselves in exhibitions authored by curators and can artistic knowledge be implemented as method of curating? What are the relations between artists, curators, public and institutions? Is there a cognizable methodology in curating Contemporary African Art exhibitions with regard to Western or Non-Western curators? How do non governmental art project spaces on and beyond the continent influence and revolutionize the trajectories of curatorial practices? Can the curator effectively serve as broker or facilitator between art and audience?

The 4th edition of the SAVVY Journal will thus position itself as a knowledge-sharing platform, wherein ideologies and philosophies, sciences and economics, ethics and aesthetics  of the curatorial practice discipline,  and in general, the semantics of exhibition making will be elaborated upon. We put the finger on the pulse of  time and want to explore the contemporary expectations and challenges of curating  in general and Contemporary African Art in particular.

Therefore, we invite artists, curators, art historians, theoreticians and other intellectuals to submit texts, not exceeding 3500 words in length, treating the above mentioned issues.

Furthermore, we are interested in other articles such as artist-features, exhibition reviews and previews of circa 1500 words.
For more information please visit www.savvy-journal.com

Submissions to: editorial@savvy-journal.com

Deadline: 01. July 2012    
Contact: editorial@savvy-journal.com with any further questions.

Video of the Week: Curating in Africa Symposium

After last weeks break we are getting back on track this week with some in-depth talks from the Curating in Africa Symposium which was held at Tate Modern in October 2010. “This symposium brought together leading curators involved in some of the most active areas of artistic production in Africa to address the state of curatorial practice in this region.”

There are four videos from the symposium available online. To access these click on the video image link below which will take you directly to the page on Tate’s site where you can watch these. If you have a problem accessing the videos when you first press play – try refreshing the page and then clicking play again.

Below is some more detailed information about the symposium and the speakers who took part in the first day’s open symposium:

“The Curating in Africa symposium, organised by Kerryn Greenberg (Curatorial Department, Tate Modern) in collaboration with Tate National, and funded by the World Collections Programme (WCP), brought together seven leading curators involved in some of the most active areas of artistic production in Africa to address the achievements of and challenges facing curators working in Africa today.

The participants were Meskerem Assegued (Zoma Contemporary Art Center, Ethiopia); Raphael Chikukwa (National Gallery of Zimbabwe); Marilyn Douala Bell (Doul’art, Cameroon); N´Goné Fall (Independent Curator, Senegal); Abdellah Karroum (L’appartement 22, Morocco); Riason Naidoo (South African National Gallery) and Bisi Silva (CCA Lagos, Nigeria).

Day One – Open Symposium

The first day was attended by approximately 100 invited curators, artists, graduate students, art historians and collectors and consisted of 30 minute presentations by each of the speakers on the context they are working in and a recent curatorial project.

N’Gone Fall, an independent curator who works between Dakar and Paris emphasized the importance of exhibitions that deal with history, geography and politics. She also talked about the benefits of collaboration, particularly with regards to Contact Zone an exhibition at the National Museum in Mali.

Raphael Chikukwa, the curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe focused on the history of his organization and its resilience during times of political instability. He talked about the challenges of fundraising and developing new audiences, as well as the importance of opening the debate and increasing the visibility of Zimbabwean artists internationally. The Harare Festival of Arts will take place from 26 April – 2 May 2011.

Marilyn Douala Bell spoke about the importance of site-specific projects, especially in a city without museums. She talked about some of the ways Doual’art has supported artists and engaged the local community over the past two decades. The next edition of SUD, organized by Doual’art, will open on 4 December 2010.

Bisi Silva, founding director of CCA Lagos spoke about Nigeria’s recent history and the infrastructural, physical and intellectual deficit Nigeria was left with after the dictatorship. She talked about the importance of professional development opportunities and the limited number of exhibition catalogues and monographs published in Africa. She also presented several exhibitions she has curated atCCA Lagos, including the inaugural exhibition DemocrazyLike a Virgin, and Art, Fashion and Identity. She also talked about J.D. Okhai Ojeikere’s exhibition which opened at CCA, Lagos on 1 October 2010. A mini retrospective of Ojeikere’s photographs will open at Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki in April 2011.

Riason Naidoo, Director of the South African National Gallery (SANG), gave an overview of his institution’s history and stressed the importance of resisting the pressure to produce exhibitions that may have popular appeal, but little gravitas. He talked in detail about 1910–2010 From Pierneef to Gugulective, the first exhibition he curated at the SANG, and the importance of creating discursive spaces.

Meskerem Assegued, founder of Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Ethiopia, discussed the impact of the military government on the Ethiopian art scene in the 1970s and 1980s. She presented Temporary, a public art happening she organized in Meskel Square and Green Flame, an exhibition in Vienna which included Julie Mehretu, Stephan Vitiello, and Elias Sime. Assegued is currently working on a major exhibition of Elias Sime’s work and a seminar Where do we go from here that will take place in Addis Ababa in January 2011.

Abdellah Karroum talked about studying abroad and not knowing one’s home on returning. He introduced various projects that he organized which enabled him to reconnect with Morocco. He discussed the genesis of Apartment 22 and the challenges of financing independent spaces.

The day ended with a roundtable discussion which touched on the following topics: arts education, censorship, the development of local audiences, and the internationalisation of exhibition programmes.”

There is also some information available on Tate’s site about a closed workshop involving 30 curators which took place on the following day. The themes addressed in this workshop included:

The Current State and Future of Art Museums in Africa

Alternatives to the Museum: Independent Spaces in Africa

The History and Sustainability of Biennials in Africa

How to Shape the Future

To read more about any of these discussion or to find out about the outcomes of the symposium click here.

Appropriated Landscapes: The Walther Collection

Embedded in the picturesque, unassuming Bavarian town of Ulm, Germany, is a fascinating plot of land. It contains three unusual looking buildings: three houses

Opening of Appropriated Landscapes at the Walther Collection, June 2011 photo: The Walther Collection (flickr)

- one is traditional, covered in ivy, another black, mostly windowless, with a trendy interior and then a white cube, two stories high with a vast underground level. This is the home of the Walther Collection, and currently the exhibition, ‘Appropriated Landscapes’. Each year a new curator creates a show from the collection, and this one is part of a three-year project focusing on the holdings of African photography.

The show, curated by Corrine Diserens, explores the effects of colonization, war and ideology on physical and psychological landscapes of South Africa. Around 200 images are displayed by 14 artists including recent work from Jane Alexander and Guy Tillim as well as newly commissioned pieces from Ângela Ferreira, Christine Meisner, and Peter Friedl.

Each house has a different atmosphere. With its low ceilings and intimate rooms the Green House is perfectly suited to exhibit the small-scale work of two of South Africa’s most prominent photographers; David Goldblatt and Santu Mofokeng. At a time when ‘struggle’ documentary photography was playing a crucial role in exposing the horrors of apartheid in a most palpable manner, Goldblatt chose instead to look at the effects of this system in a different way. From the early 1960s he photographed the deep rooted effects of apartheid by veering towards the eventless, the ‘unnatural’ nature of the man-altered South African landscape. Santu Mofokeng’s work too engages with the concept of landscape as the mute witness to history. His photographs depict the previously undocumented, everyday life of the ‘forgotten society’ of black South Africans in the townships. Though trauma is manifested in this landscape, the key theme that emerges through Mofokeng’s images is survival.

In the Black House, Jo Ractliffe’s new body of work on Angola’s civil war is premiered. Ractliffe visited Angola at the end of the war and for two years traveled with South African and Angolan ex-soldiers through what Portuguese colonials referred to as “As Terras do Fim do Mundo” – the lands of the end of the world. The haunting images produced show a scarred landscape. Unease is purposefully implied through unusually inhabited images of unintelligible signage, mass graves, and vast spaces with solitary, strange objects.

In the main exhibition space – the architecturally striking White Box – are photographs and video installations. Most striking is the presentation of the work of Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse. The subject of their collaboration is Ponte City: a 54-storey cylindrical building situated in the centre of Johannesburg. This is the tallest residential tower block in Africa and a politically important building; abandoned by white residents, it is now a precarious home to thousands of squatters and so represents a place of constant struggle. The artists’ have displayed lightbox panels divided into three themes: doors, windows and TVs. Presented on large screens suspended from the ceiling, the 12-channel digital slide projection provides a multitude of perspectives on the contemporary skyline of the city of Johannesburg from the point of view of the residents, giving a new resonance to the work.

Guy Tillim disarms colonial inheritance, not merely recording collapsed histories but “a walk through an avenue of dreams”. His highly composed photographs show urban decay and disorder, leading one to question the aestheticisation of poverty by an outsider. The video work of Penny Siopis and Peter Freidl’s films work to analyse narrative tools in colonialized surroundings and the perilous public sphere. In contrast to much of the exhibition, Zanele Muholi and Sabelo Mlangeni’s photographs are ‘peopling’ the landscape with marginal groups. Muholi, working with victims of hate crime, undermines the ethnographic archive by exploring sexual indeterminacy and the scrambling of codes. In the Country Girls series Mlangeni visits cross-dressing communities in rural South Africa exploring masculine intimacy to a poignant effect.

The scars of memory and history on the land expand the definition of landscape. The images displayed together here as Appropriated Landscapes depict the trajectory – from production through reception to the legacy – of these scars which have shaped the land. The exhibition asks important questions about the relationship between history and memory, the role of the photographer, and the problems of moving on from a trauma embedded in the very landscape.

To view images of works in the Appropriated Landscapes exhibition click here and follow the links for specific artists within each building.

Contributed by: Hannah-Grace Fitzpatrick