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BACK(S) TO AFRICA (article first published : 2005-04-30)

The NSA Gallery is to present Back(s) to Africa, a forum on recent developments in contemporary art and South Africa’s links with the continent as part of The Young Artists’ Project Seminar 2005.

The seminar, and its attendant launch of the project catalogue, marks the conclusion of the 2004/5 Young Artists’ Project (YAP). Funded by The Royal Netherlands Embassy, YAP is a sustained and ongoing NSA Gallery initiative that promotes contemporary art in the city of Durban.

Moderator will be Dr Patricia Achieng Opondo (Kenya) with keynote speakers Khwezi Gule (SA), Storm Janse van Rensburg (SA), David Koloane (SA), Goddy Leye (Cameroon) and Sue Williamson (SA).

During the past 12 months, four exhibitions by three young artists and one collaborate team were hosted under the YAP umbrella. This event celebrates their achievements. Participants included Anawana Haloba (Zambia), Dean Henning & Rike Sitas, Vaughn Sadie and Mlu Zondi. The seminar also provides an opportunity to invite prominent and expert voices in the visual arts from South Africa and elsewhere to Durban to share their views on the seminar theme with a local audience.

South Africa has historically been isolated from Africa. This isolation, a direct result of colonial and apartheid policies and attitudes, still lingers like a bad hangover. What roles do artists, curators and institutions play in breaking this isolation, in creating new links and partnerships on and with the continent? The title of the seminar refers to a metaphorical return to matters of the continent of Africa, but also alludes to a persistent focus on ‘elsewhere’ (Europe and the US), our backs turned to Africa.

Each keynote speaker has been invited to respond to the above, drawing from personal and professional experiences. While not a formal academic session it is intended that this part of the conference be a critical platform for rigorous and considered responses.

Dr. Patricia Achieng Opondo (Kenya) will chair the event, and keynote speakers are Khwezi Gule, David Koloane, Goddy Leye (Cameroon) and Sue Williamson. The session will also include an opportunity for questions and debate. An overview of the 2004/2005 project will be presented by Storm Janse van Rensburg, the YAP curator and seminar convenor.

The seminar will take place on May 6 at 09h00 at the Diakonia Centre, 20 St Andrew's Street, Durban. It is open to the public but seating is limited and interested individuals must book. Entry is free of charge, and parking is available on first come first serve basis. Booking essential with Nathi Gumede on 031 277 1702.




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