21ColumnVol.1 No.3.July 2021
~ Header insert, August House//Cape Town Collab runs between June and July in Cape Town CBD ~
We have finally seen July, at least the beginning of it. In a world that seem to have come to hold its bated breath for a future that is solidly uncertain, perhaps until we are all vaccinated only then can we exhale. But we must soldier on despite the uncertainties we are facing. We can always find solace in the fact that the future was never certain in the first place. We shape it as we go along. We just have to be cautious as we journey on by staying safe, even beyond the vaccination horizon. Taba ke gore, ga re itse gore tatswi e, etla tswelela pele go anama lefa e le gore setlare sa yona se tlabe se fihlelletswe (the fact of the matter is that we do not know whether the virus will continue to spread even when we have been vaccinated).
Artvantagepoint: In the upcoming piece The Gathering Nelson Makamo reminds us of one of the precious features of being human.
As life floats onwards precariously, it seem as if the JAVETT-UP is using the downtime we are experiencing to strengthen its team-mix. Nearly two months ago Gabi Ngcobo joined the team as the Curatorial Director. And now Elroy Bell as Senior Manager: Operations and Administration (See Developments section in this edition). The centre’s positioning in presenting an experience that is at the cutting edge of culture presentation and conservation has now been undeniably underscored. The JAVETT-UP Centre endeavour not only to make its presence felt in South Africa but throughout our continent.
Bathong, acutely, I am hereby reminded of the time when Dr. Bongani Mkhonza joined UNISA Art Gallery. The fervour with which the developments at the JAVETT-UP are occurring at the moment inspire a nostalgic perspective within me of that time. But the time of arrival of Mkhonza at UNISA Art Gallery is contextually different from where we stand today (See the Von Veh Interview). He too is a changed man today and so are we. It is importance for us to bear in mind that the understanding of that context, clears-out the development of the arts, their preservation and their accessibility to our communities at large in this country as far as UNISA Art Gallery is concerned. It was a historical moment, though nuanced, wherein that space made a call to the wider accessibility of cultural spaces to both artists and the audience. And its commitment within that paradigm.
Following the pandemic, it will be those cultural spaces resourced enough to use modern platforms to make their collections, archives and staff accessible to our communities. Ultimately, in the Audience Race which has come to permeate our cultural institutions, those institutions that can make provisions to the accessibility of culture to members of our society at the margins will emerge as recognizable hubs for culture experience, and, with your permission may I add? As well as Heritage experiences.
Reference: Von Veh, K. 2010. Karen von Veh talks to Bongani Mkhonza: The Unisa Art Gallery: An old collection and a new curator, De Arte, 45: 81, 57-65, DOI:10.1080/00043389.201011877122
Wednesday 7 July 2021 AT 12:52
The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) shared the news that it had appointed Elroy Bell as its new Senior Manager: Operations and Administration. Bell who will oversee the operations of Javett-UP and spearhead initiatives to grow the impact of the centre in the local communities and throughout Africa joins Javett-UP following his move from the Dramatic Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), where he oversaw the running of the Theatricals, Visual Arts and General Licensing Department. Bell’s role at DALRO included building a more copyright compliant arts industry in South Africa and equipping visual artists, playwrights and authors with the necessary knowledge to safeguard their arts businesses and their intellectual property rights, said the Javett-UP Centre in an official public statement released at around lunch time.
Lekgetho James Makola, Chief Executive Officer, Javett-UP sees Bell’s appointment as a perfect addition to the Javett-UP team and stated that he and his team were thrilled that Elroy Bell was joining them bringing with him ‘exciting knowledge and dynamic experience as a builder of artistic platforms and administrator of organisations, and the understanding of the unique ecosystem in which practitioners in Africa and the diverse communities exists,’ and that he was looking forward to working with him and exploring new ideas for the centre.
[Photo insert: Elroy Bell, source Edelman]
Elroy holds a BA Honours from the University of Cape Town in Theatre Directing and Drama Education and is currently completing his MA in Cultural Policy and Management at Wits University. He has a background in theatre and dance production, arts development, teaching, copyright and project management.
While at university, Elroy co-founded the Bridgetown Theatre Company and worked as its Musical Director. He has been a United World Colleges Scholar to Italy and is an alumnus of the South African-Washington International Programme. Elroy Bell officially joined Javett-UP on 1 July, 2021. Press release via Edelman
Amidst all this artists continue to make art. Art reminds us of life’s continuity. You can imagine the hunter gatherers documentation within the confines of the caves. Their aesthetic responses to the world without was a response from within the artists of what was happening to their society as they wrestled with the forces of destiny, spiritual, social or natural. As it was with humankind eons ago so it continues today. Art permeates our lives in so many ways that demands a larger space than this newsletter. We may agree that good art is unbound by time and space.
>The mounting of the exhibition Social Stances at Strauss & Co which features a conversation between the work of George Pemba (1912–2001) and Robert Hodgins (1920–2010) punctuates the end of the last passage. Curated by Wilhelm van Rensburg, Strauss & Co’s head curator Social Stances will run until 30 July. Please note that there are also a hype of educational programs tied to the exhibition. Visit HERE for more details.
>There are a couple of group exhibitions that opened this past weekend. At Johann van Heerden, Garsfontein, Connectivity, curated by Anna Liebenberg will run until 28 July. Here is an exhibition that expands on the ongoing response to our rapidly changing world as a result of the ensuing pandemic with regard to our connectedness. Visit HERE for more details.
> At St. Lorient Art Gallery, Brooklyn Circle, The Inbetween: (Batho le naga) People and land, curated by Gordon Froud, runs until 21 August. Visit HERE for more details.
> As of 4 June, in the northern hemisphere of our globe Vin Vin Gallery, in Vienna, installed the exhibition Collective Nostalgia. Featuring an international collective of women born in the 1990s. The exhibition closes on 24 July. Visit HERE for more details.
> Submission for entries into the envisaged art fair at edg2020 Gallery took place on Monday 5 July. According to the gallery, after the selection processes have been conducted between now and mid-July. Selected works for the art fair will be on show online from 31 July – 28 August 2021. Visit HERE for more details.
- Desk-Jockeying: The Case of the Missing Pumpkin, not my original titling. It does have whodunit ring to it, doesn’t? This Art Newspaper article is worth a read.
> Finally, There are a couple of interceptions (interviews) that I have lined up for this month plus the upcoming Arttach List 20XXI. Make note that the listed artworks will be available for purchase directly from the artists. Bye for now and thanks for being here. <
Archived Tuesday 13 July 2021 at 22:30