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TANGENCYA (article first published : 2005-01-1)

30 artists - 10 projects - three weeks - one city – Durban. This is Tangencya, an inter-disciplinary arts-based project with site-specific interventions running from December 16 to January 7, 2005. Featuring artists from Mozambique, Angola, Botswana it has been conceptualized and curated by Andries Botha (SA) and Miguel Petchkovsky (Amsterdam/Angola). The concept aims to project the city of Durban nationally and internationally as a place of cultural, heritage and artistic significance. It also aims to develop Durban as a place that showcases African creativity as well as creativity that is drawn from the South/South geographic vector.

The project derives its title from a synthesis of the English work "Tangent" and Portuguese word "Tangencia". It also embodies the Zulu word "Thinta" which alludes to touch. "Once two bodies touch, an essential part of our humanity is defined as interdependent. The project refers to how local creativity can be both a multidisciplinary cultural experience as well as a response to conceptual challenges at regional, national, international and global levels," says Botha.

There are 10 projects initially (Nine commissioned projects and two “fringe” projects). The first one - Zam' ukuziphisa - is an architectural project modifying a self-help and beading workshop in Umlazi K Section. The Zam' ukuziphisa site is where artist/architect Maria van Gass will be finding a solution to permanently house the community project of Mrs. Gambushe. One of Mrs. Gambushe's buildings is made of zink/tin and Maria shall be using her creativity with the help of her assistant (Richard Shange, a masterful wire weaver who recently had a one-person show at the African Art Centre) to find a creative "solution" for this.

The second project: The Durban Art Gallery Collection Online is the creation of website and cyber-innovators, pilotfish, allowing viewing of the DAG contemporary collection, digitally. The assistant to pilotfish is Vukani Mpanza, an IT design student from the University of Durban Westville. This project embraces certain historically based ideas of artistic production and the context within which it is shown, by seeking alternative languages and modes of representation for creativity. The extensive library systems throughout KwaZulu-Natal will be seen as potential venues where these CD ROMs will be shown. Means will also be sought to distribute these CD ROMS into the secondary school system.

The third and fourth projects will take place in Cato Manor. Artist Sazi Dlamini partnered by the NSA will be building an interactive outdoor children's musical instrument to encourage a love and appreciation of music in Cato Manor. He will obtain assistance from Simanga Madlala, a local Durban artist who will assist him the manufacture of the work.

The fourth project will take place at the Golden Gateway Hindu Temple in Cato Manor. Artist Jeremy Wafer will establish an intervention that engages issues of urban hybridity. He will explore and look at issues of the historical disintegration and reintegration of the city façade. The artist will engage existing and emerging urban stakeholders. Wafer will be expected to respond to the specific political, social and personal histories of Cato Manor. His assistant is Dumisani Mthethwa, local Durban artist.

The fifth project will be built at an existing taxi rank in the city of Durban. A life-size taxi is to be built out of recycled materials as a public installation. Mozambican artist Fernando A Mabota "Titos" will be assisted by Durban Institute of Technology sculpture student, Mondli Mdanda and will be partnered by the African Art Centre. The "taxi" will become a site of consultancy where the public will be engaged around the complex issues of public transport. These "comments" will be collected and handed to the city and interested parties at the end of the exhibition.

The sixth project has Kwa Muhle/Local History Museum as a site for an installation to be built and draws attention to issues of social fragmentation and new constructions of personal visions as integral to Post Colonial/Apartheid South Africa. The eThekwini Municipality will be hosting artist Miguel Petkovsky from Amsterdam/Angola who will be assisted by local artist Gabisile Ngcobo.

The seventh project acknowledges and embraces two young Durban artists Dineo Bopape and Themba Shibase. These artists will make a video that examines the idea of multiple urban interfaces that looks at urban decay and rejuvenation. Their endeavour is to create a portrait of Durban to reveal the rich social textures of the city we occupy. They will be assisted by artist Njabula Mtshali.

The eighth project takes place in Wentworth. Here pollution comes under the spotlight. This project will be looking at environmental issues resulting from industrial pollution and its impact on the South Durban community and will be led by South African artist Greg Streak. Streak will be engaging both corporate and community stakeholders.

The ninth project will be led by a 71 year old artist, Mr. John Monnakgosi from Botswana and will be situated and partnered by the Documentation Centre. The artist has been tasked to rebuild a significant animal-based Indian/African deity which will be housed at the centre. His idea will be to highlight the manner in which our worship systems respond to historical place and time. His assistant is Durban Institute of Technology ceramics student, Zinhle Mngomezulu.

Prominent arts personality Fiona Kirkwood is participating in Tangencya on the fringe. After a long period of producing art responding to the HIV/AIDs pandemic, she will create an installation – “Survivial” - and speak to the public regarding this important issue. She will collaborate with HIVAN and the reproductive health research unit. Her assistant will be Leonard Zulu. She will be hosted by the Workshop shopping complex and sponsored by Pick N' Pay [the Workshop], Workshop Electronix, Omni Naturals and Colourchrome Spectrum.

A significant aspect of the Tangencya project is to capture data, conversation and creative details for future analysis, discussion and distribution. This part of the project will be led by writer, Rustom Bharucha from India. Bharucha's interests embrace some of the contemporary debates that focus on the marginalisation and fragmentation of the geographic periphery. Tangencya has acknowledged how artistic production has been selectively promoted in the past. In order to attempt to rectify this, it has engaged those artists that have been previously marginalized in an attempt to position them within the embrace of an international arts project. The idea is to introduce them slowly into the project and to engage them as independent artists for future participation in Tangencya.

Tangencya is partnered by the African Art Centre; BAT Centre; Durban Art Gallery; Durban Institute of Technology, The Local History Museums; the Alliance Française, The Workshop shopping centre, the Workshop Pick ‘N Pay, artSPACE Durban and the NSA Gallery. This project would not be possible without the financial support of Stichting Doen (Netherlands) and the Bartel Arts Trust (Durban).

The project also hopes to have a fringe exhibition at the African Art Centre and will produce a catalogue, a video and hold two panel discussions within the city. The project also hopes to have a fringe exhibition; a catalogue; a project video and discussion groups. More information on 031 332 2970 or email: c.a.s@worldonline.co.za




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