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BLACK AND WHITE COPIES (article first published : 2001-09-25)

Running at the NSA Gallery until October 14 in the Park Gallery and Mezzanine space is Black and White Copies, a collaborative project initiated by Miguel Petchkovsky (Angola, Netherlands) and supported by Create Africa South.

Black and White Copies is an artist project initiated by Angolan-born Dutch artist Miguel Petchkovsky which was mounted in connection with the International Conference Against Racism. As the title of the project suggests, it looks to interrogate notions around identity: race, authenticity, original and copy. Petchkovsky – considered white in Angola, black in Portugal – his name of Portuguese and Russian descent – to whom the very questions of “who am I”, “to whom and where”, are especially pertinent.

This project is however not about Petchkovsky – as here he sees his role more as “artistic director”– in as much as he has set up the parameters within which he invited the public, art students and professional artists to respond. During the Racism conference he hired a black and white photocopy machine and invited those interested to make a maximum of 10 free photocopies. In return, one copy was asked as a contribution to the project that will see a collation of these photocopies assembled into a publication and exhibition.

This compilation offers an interesting mix of “copies” in which the varying interpretations of original, authentic and identity in the context of Durban, South Africa in the moment that it hosted the International Conference Against Racism, 2001.

The Black and White Copies process accompanied the exhibition Amazwi Abesifazane (Voices of Women) – organised by Andries Botha under the guise of Create Africa South (a non-profit visual arts organisation).




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