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ABANGAFUNEKI (article first published : 2004-07-30)

Opening in the NSA Mezzanine and Park Gallery on August 3 is “Abangafuneki”, a group show that investigates and responds to the recent spate of corporate-funded art competitions that have hit South African shores. As the visual art world continues in its ongoing struggle for government and civil support, it seems it is the corporate world that rules the roost. These financial injections are needed and welcomed, but what are the long-term benefits to the visual art industry? How do artists position themselves to benefit from this patronage?

Abangafuneki takes the form of an art-historic phenomenon, the “Salon de Refuse’s”. The first exhibition of this nature was in 1863 in France, when thousands of works were rejected from the official ‘Salon’, an annual state sponsored exhibition. The rejected artists and their supporters mounted their own ‘Salon’, running parallel to the official - and in protest to their rejection.

The term “Abangafuneki”, translated from isiZulu means ‘rejected’ or ‘not wanted’, and the exhibition is an ironic and tongue in cheek comment on work not selected for a recent art competition. It throws up interesting questions around selection procedures and criteria and the importance of curatorial visions in these selections.

The exhibition contains work by well-known KwaZulu-Natal artists. Unfortunately not all work rejected from recent exhibitions can be exhibited, and the NSA Gallery looks forward to protest exhibitions of artwork not selected from the rejected group.

Abangafuneki runs from August 3 to 22. More information from Storm Janse van Rensburg (Curator) on 031 202 3686, fax 031 201 8051 or e-mail: curator@nsagallery.co.za or visit www.nsagallery.co.za




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