31st March 2020

S03 E02 / Talk: ‘The Quest for Sustainable Art Platforms’ at Cape Town Art Fair

Art conversations in South Africa

This episode is from a talk that I recorded at this year’s Investec Cape Town Art Fair, as part of their talks program curated by Tumelo Mosaka. Thanks so much to the organizers of the fair for allowing me to record this session and publish it on the Unframed platform. Enjoy this talk entitled ‘The Quest for Sustainable Art Platforms’.

The panel examines the current and possible future model of art platforms and institutional spaces as self-sustainable entities. Challenges around sustainability for art platforms are well theorized and yet remains a question that most non-commercial entities grapple with. Competing for the same shrinking pot of funds and maintaining the intellectual autonomy of the projects while juggling the needs of the funder is a real challenge. How do we keep our doors open while occupying the space and practitioners that the museums and commercial entities do not reach?

MODERATOR: Nkule Mabaso (Curator, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town)

Premesh Lalu (Factory of the Arts, UWC)
Georgina Maxim (Village Unhu Collective, Harare)
Angela Shaw (Director of KZNSA, Kwa-Zulu Natal)

Kabelo Malatsi (Independent Curator, Johannesburg)


Nkule Mabaso graduated with a Fine Arts degree from the University of Cape Town and received a Masters in Curating at the Zurich University of the Arts. She has worked as Assistant Editor of the journal OnCurating.org and founded the Newcastle Creative Network in Kwa-Zulu Natal. As an artist she has shown work in Denmark, Switzerland, South Africa, Germany and Zimbabwe. She has also curated shows and organized public talks in Switzerland, Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa. She is currently the director of Michaelis Art Gallery in Cape Town.

Premesh Lalu is Professor of History and the former Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. He has published widely in academic journals on historical discourse and the Humanities in Africa and is a regular contributor of public opinion pieces in local and international newspapers. His book, The Deaths of Hintsa: Postapartheid South Africa and the Shape of Recurring Pasts (2009) argues that in order to forge a concept of apartheid that allows us to properly formulate a deeper meaning of the post-apartheid, what is necessary is a postcolonial critique of apartheid. Lalu is a board member of the international Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and Chairperson of the Handspring Trust for Puppetry in Education

Georgina Maxim lives and works between, Germany and Zimbabwe. Her work functions in part as meditation for the artist. As self-healing and self-recognition, hours spent alone but not lonely and working in the monotony of the same thread, finding only variation in the next colour. The colour and stitch can and may be translated into and as cicatrices of every little scar, laughter and stitch. It serves as memory of the owner of the dress and remaking the past into new. Maxim is currently furthering her studies in Bayreuth, Germany yet returns to Zimbabwe regularly as co-founder of Village Unhu collective and open studio in Harare. She studied fine art at Chinhoyi University and soon after her studies taught art and worked as gallery manager at Gallery Delta (2004-2013) before opening Village Unhu. Maxim has exhibited at galleries and international art fairs including Gallery Delta (from 2009 to date), Mojo Gallery (2016), and National Gallery of Zimbabwe (2014) where she was awarded first prize in the exhibition Woman at the Top, and Trop Comprendre at Sulger-Buel Lovell (2017) curated by Andrew Lamprecht. Maxim was selected to represent the Zimbabwean Pavilion at the 58th International Venice Biennale 2019.

Angela Shaw has a background in curatorial direction and concept development in the creative industries. Shaw holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and English.  Her early career was as photojournalist for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and then as a digital photography imager at the Eastern Express, the world’s first news publication to implement digital photo processing. Over the years she has made photographic work for numerous magazines, books, private commissions, group and solo exhibitions in Durban, Cape Town, New York, India, Hong Kong and Myanmar. She is the co-founder of Shaw Sisters, a KwaZulu-Natal based design practice that works with master crafters to develop high-quality handmade goods. Shaw is currently the Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA Gallery).

Kabelo Malatsie previously the director of Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA). She also worked as an associate director, in the curatorial team at Stevenson gallery in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 2011 until 2016. Her Master’s degree in Art History from the University of the Witwatersrand explores alternative funding and institutional models that are rooted in their viability within a South African context. Malatsie also holds an honours degree in Curatorship from the University of Cape Town and an undergraduate degree in BCom Marketing Management from the University of Johannesburg. She was a participant of Independent Curators International’s Curatorial Intensive in Accra in 2017 and the 9th Berlin Biennale Young Curators Workshop in 2016.

(text courtesy of Investec Cape Town Art Fair)

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