100 artists have been selected for The Africa Centre’s art biennale, the Spier Contemporary 2010, which opens at The Cape Town City Hall on 14 March 2010. The mammoth task of selecting the finalists from over 2 700 entries at selection centres across the country was undertaken by the five member curatorial team.
Mwenya Kabwe, a member of the curatorial team, says; “There was an enormous amount of art. Making the selection entailed endless hours of debate between our team members. Whilst we were enriched by our journey through South Africa’s creative landscape, it was exhausting!”
Digital art and photography emerged very clearly as popular mediums for this year’s competition, which also includes strong sculptural and performance arts dimensions. Says, Jay Pather, from the curatorial team; “Contemporary art is a measure of our society. A lot of the work reflects the search for identity – it suggests that we are a nation in crisis. Themes of cynicism, fear and a lack of faith in our leadership are definitely present. We did not seek to narrate or shape this reflection. It is what it is and often art speaks to us because it echoes our truth.”
Within the soul-searching, there are however many moments of wry humour, playfulness and some extraordinary musings on human nature. Soccer commentary also emerged as a strong theme, with many artists questioning the hype and absence of real community benefits surrounding the forthcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Work has begun on the Cape Town City Hall setting, where the first stop of the exhibition will be shown. Commissioned architect, Nabeel Essa, will be designing the exhibition within the crumbling grandeur of the Edwardian building to create an interpretive space quite unlike the white cube. A total prize money of R1.2 million and six artist in residency programmes (to places as far afield as South Korea and Brazil) will be awarded to the finalists and winning artists. Winners will be announced on the 13 March 2010.
The Africa Centre presents the Spier Contemporary 2010 with the generous support of Spier.
Dates & Details:
The Spier Contemporary 2010 Exhibition at The Cape Town City Hall
14 March – 14 May 2010
Daily 10am till 6pm
Entrance is FREE
To arrange interviews with members of the curatorial team, project managers, qualifying artists and Spier Contemporary’s producer, The Africa Centre – please call Brenda on + 27 21 447 3198
ABOUT SPIER CONTEMPORARY 2010:
The Spier Contemporary has been conceived to provide a platform for visual and performance artists to show their work, uncompromised by the limitations of technology, space and access. Artists in South Africa work under extremely varied conditions and see from radically different perspectives. These differences are what define our collective identity and unique social and cultural landscape. The Spier Contemporary provides a platform for exploring our diversity, giving audiences insights into our complexity and thus contributing to our understanding of difference.
ABOUT THE AFRICA CENTRE
The Africa Centre is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African arts and cultural practices. In addition to the Spier Contemporary, the Africa Centre conducts three annual festivals in Cape Town: Infecting the City (performance art), Badilisha Poetry X-change (poetry) and the Pan-African Space Station (music); as well as an artist-in-residency programme based in Senegal, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa – SPARCK – Space for Pan-African Research, Creation and Knowledge.