What follows is a speech prepared to open officially the For Sale Project Exhibition 2012. Due to the hype around the exhibition at the evening of 1 August and the throng of people who responded to the opening I never gave this speech. Avoiding the heavy burden of history I instead improvised and picked up the most salient ideas around the exhibition and its aims. The speech as it is reproduced below serves to pay homage to my contemporaries in Pretoria/Tshwane within the visual arts who have been involved in this project over the last decade. It is reproduced herein for all to gain an understanding of our attempts to move visual art forward in the City of Tshwane.
Good evening ladies and gentleman. Artists. Thank you for joining us this evening as we open this year’s installment of the For Sale Project Exhibition. My name is Mmutle Arthur Kgokong, I am a Culture Officer for the City of Tshwane and I am responsible for Education and Development at the Pretoria Art Museum. I feel honored to share this evening with you. I shall not give a critical commentary on the work that is on show for I believe that criticism in itself is designated to individual speculation as to what art concepts work better than others or which artwork is successful in a given context. Tonight I let you, in your personal capacity to be the judge – to be the connoisseur of fine art.
This essay is a reflection of the screening of Pule Diphare’s Sister In Wonderland on the evening of 25 November 2010. It acutely tied in best with South Africa’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign which runs from 25 November to 10 December.
The first part of this essay introduces the film to the reader by setting the tone for the vital theme at the crux of the artwork. While the second part tries to introduce the subject matter to the reader through a subdued reportage the last section, using dialogue approach, focuses on the questions which were raised during the last part of that evening following the screening. Here the reader must be made aware that while great care has been taken to record every question through short hand a lot of editing went into the writing of this part to re-focus the questions and retain their motive. Even the sharp responses from Diphare as he deflected and dealt with questions were seethed to retain their directness. With that said the reader might find this part far more different (if not put off by it) compared to audio recorded interviews that I have hitherto conducted especially towards the end of 2010.
Pule Diphare is an interesting artist living and practicing in Tshwane/Pretoria today in that he still holds to the credo that a work of art does not need the artist to defend it in order for it to stand its ground in the echelons of creativity. It should stand by itself, for itself. Furthermore he professes individuality at an epoch where belonging is the norm.