Artist Participation in South Africa
The international PR campaign to showcase Rotterdam's robust policy on artist participation is now also tapping into the emerging African art markets.
The international PR campaign to showcase Rotterdam’s robust policy on artist participation is now also tapping into the emerging African art markets.
Under the motto: ‘Don’t offer them fish, but learn them how to fish’, Rotterdam’s Task Force for Artist Participation launched its innovative policy measures to a mix of a upcoming and established artists at the University of Pretoria on 18 August.
For too long now, the African art world’s potential has been subdued due to the colonial imposition of the ultimately Western concept of artistic autonomy. The latter goes counter to their indigenous tradition of ubuntu. This is the idea that we are all connected and that who and what we are, as well as what we can achieve, is ultimately the result of our relationships with other people.
The native African artistic tradition can thus be said to have predated the recent relational and post-relational paradigm in Western art for many thousands of years. However, due to certain colonial misconceptions it has been alienated from its very roots.
Now is the time for Africa to reconnect to its indigenous traditions and steal the relational paradigm back from Western artists, curators and theorists. Artists in Africa should again take up its natural and world leadership with regards to art practices that fundamentally and constitutively participate in society.
The Task Force will play an intermediary and consultancy role in this turn around process. It will form links with key players and local stakeholders throughout South Africa.