Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
SOUTH SOUTH, the online community which is an anthology, a live resource and an aggregator dedicated to art from the Global South and its diaspora, is hosting its first major convening — SOUTH SOUTH VEZA (Feb.23 - Mar. 7). In Zulu, Veza means “show” or “exhibit.” It features 50+ galleries from more than 40 cities spread across 30 countries and five continents, coming together in their dedication to art of the Global South. Galleries including El Apartamento (Havana), Dastan’s Basement (Tehran), First Floor Gallery (Harare), Gypsum (Cairo) and Rele Gallery (Lagos) and not-for-profit partners RAW Material Company (Dakar), Green Papaya Art Projects (Manila) and Casa do Povo (São Paulo), demonstrate SOUTH SOUTH’s role in backing galleries, curators, artists and collectors.
SOUTH SOUTH VEZA features a curated programme and collector talks, vernissage auction and a peer-led Online Viewing Room (OVR). The programme comprises KIXIMBI: meditations on the middle passage and other atlantic phantoms, an exhibition curated by architect and curator Paula Nascimento and curator and writer Suzana Sousa; Institutional Hybridity, a Think Tank presented in collaboration with The Showroom, London, convened by Director Elvira Dyangani Ose; a Film Programme curated by Rodrigo Moura, Chief Curator of El Museo del Barrio in New York; and In Dialogue: Collector Talks, a series of conversations between SOUTH SOUTH’s Ambassadors, artists and galleries. Paula Nascimento and Suzana Sousa are both originally from Angola; together they curate KIXIMBI. Kiximbi is an expression in kimbundu (a bantu language spoken in Angola) that refers to water spirits, used to evoke both the power of the waters and of the ancestors who lost their lives in the sea.
The South Atlantic is a space that carries the burden of the history of forced removal of bodies across continents, a movement of people that had a particular impact on both the African continent and in the new world or diasporas where they were sent to.
KIXIMBI uses contemporary art as a means through which to reflect on the loss this caused — a loss not just of people, but of culture, narratives, languages and strength. It aims to deconstruct the fixed and rigid Western gaze and understanding, releasing African art and knowledge production from pre-assigned roles and appearances.
KIXIMBI establishes a dialogue between shores, exploring the links that resulted from a common history. It features works by Vasco Araujo (Portugal), Aline Motta (Brazil), António Ole (Angola), Dalton Paula (Brazil), Yinka Shonibare CBE (UK), Buhlebezwe Siwani (South Africa) and James Webb (South Africa).
Institutional Hybridity is the SOUTH SOUTH Think Tank: a talks programme curated by The Showroom, London, and convened by Director Elvira Dyangani Ose. Speakers include William Kentridge (The Centre for the Less Good Idea, South Africa); Otobong Nkanga (Carved to Flow, Greece), Shaina Anand, Sanjay Bhangar & Ashok Sukumaran (Studio CAMP, India); Pablo Guardiola (Beta-Local, Puerto Rico); Prateek & Priyanka Raja (Experimenter, India) and Jamal Nxedlana (Bubblegum Club, South Africa), among others. It consists of four pre-recorded keynote conversations and four live panel discussions, aiming to explore sustainable strategies.
A curated film programme has been drawn together from independent artists and participating galleries by curator Rodrigo Maura, chief curator of El Museo del Barrio in New York City. The programme includes works by Elia Alba (USA), Carmen Argote (Guadalajara/USA), Jonathas de Andrade (Brazil), Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro (Brazil), Carolina Caycedo (UK/USA), Minerva Cuevas (Mexico), Mario García Torres (Mexico), Haroon Gunn-Salie (South Africa), Sky Hopinka (USA), Grada Kilomba (Portugal), Basim Magdy (Egypt), Marcellvs l (Brazil/Germany) and Rania Stephan (Lebanon).
The SOUTH SOUTH platform was conceived by Liza Essers, owner and director of Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg (as an extension of an ongoing curatorial initiative started by Goodman gallery in 2015) and has been guided by a founder circle of gallery-led collaborators such as Marcio Botner (A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro), Essers, Shireen Gandhy (Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai), Daudi Karungi (Afriart Gallery, Kampala), José Kuri (kurimanzutto, Mexico City), Atsuko Ninagawa (Take Ninagawa Gallery, Tokyo) and Mary Sabbatino (Galerie Lelong & Co., New York City). SOUTH SOUTH is further supported by a network of Ambassadors, Collectors, Philanthropists and Patrons committed to supporting the arts ecology in the Global South. It includes people such as Jim Amberson (Singapore), Benedicta M Badia de Nordenstahl (Argentina, Singapore), Pedro Barbosa (Brazil), Denise Gardner (USA), Stephanie Grose (Australia), Pamela Joyner (USA), Anurag Khanna (India), Pulane Kingston (South Africa), Alan Lo (Hong Kong), Professor Cav. Simon Mordant AO (Australia), Jorge Perez (USA), Lekha Poddar (India), Roberto Diaz Sesma (Mexico/USA), Miwa Taguchi (Japan) and Stephen Tio Kauma (Uganda/Egypt).
Drawing on experience of philanthropy, collecting and patronage, a series of conversations, In Dialogue, between Ambassadors, artists and galleries, will consider topics ranging from collecting strategies; the arts ecology post-Covid; creating art in a climate of censorship; and the mission of collecting art in the Global South. Bidding is also now open for SOUTH SOUTH VEZA, with the highlight lots culminating in a live auction on Feb. 23, powered by auction technology and led by experts. There is no buyers premium and the proceeds will go directly to artists and galleries, with up to twenty per cent benefiting selected not-for-profit partners RAW Projects (Senegal), Green Papaya (Manila) and Casa do Povo (São Paulo), in recognition of the fundamental contribution they make to the art ecosystem of the Global South. In raising funds and spotlighting them, SOUTH SOUTH highlights the role they play in nurturing artists, where there is otherwise a lack of institutional infrastructure and support.
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