Remaking Place, a symposium on public art will be presented by the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) from 8 to 14 March 2015.
The Symposium runs parallel with the Infecting The City Festival and features luminaries in public art discourse such as Gabi Ngcobo, co-founder of the Center for Historical Reenactments, Lewis Biggs of the International Award for Public Art; Wang Dawei, Dean of Fine Art, Shanghai University and Marilyn Douahala Bell, from the highly respected Douala’ Art in the Cameroon. Admission is free but registration is compulsory. The Symposium’s sessions fall in and amongst the Infecting The City programme, making it possible to attend both events.
Public Art is fast becoming a crucial nexus for South African art – it not only encourages innovation and excellence in art, but proffers crucial issues around the relationship of art to community, audience involvement and engagement, access, and bringing key questions around heritage, personal identities and governance into the public realm.
The increase in visiblity and commissioning of Public Art nationally brings an awareness to the potential for the animation of a site that is accessible and available to a diverse audience, rendered equal in their pleasure, surprise, shock or discomfort by a common, unprecedented occurrence. At its height, public art allows for diverse meanings as well as coherence in the middle of complex, barely intersecting subjectivities. But the question resurfaces: Has it?
The Symposium is comprised of series of panel discussion that focus on Innovation and Public Art given the particular challenges of public art today. These panels are:
Promotion and generation of Public Art: Innovative practice from the formal to the anarchic.
Innovation and Diverse Publics 1: Women, Youth and Public Art
Innovation and Diverse Publics 2: Race, Class and Public Art
Principles of Innovation and Audience Participation and Engagement
The symposium opens at 6pm on Sunday 8, March will thereafter run daily Monday to Thursday, 9 to 12 March at the University of Cape Town’s Hiddingh Campus, culminating in a full public art programme Kasi-2-Kasi Public Art Festival at sites in Gugulethu beginning at the Gugulethu Shopping Mall, Steve Biko Street.
Panelists have been drawn from various parts of the country. These include: Eric Itzkin (Johannesburg Development Agency) and Ra Hlasane (Keleketla! Library) from Gauteng, Buntu Fihle (Dlala Indima) from the Eastern Cape, Doung Anwar Jahangeer (DALA) from Durban and Samkela Stamper from Mpumulanga. From Cape Town participants include Rike Sitas (African Centre for Cities), Amrita Pande (University of Cape Town), Zayd Minty (City of Cape Town), Bonita Bennett (District Six Museum), Khanyisile Mbongwa, Premesh Lalu (University of Western Cape), Sara Matchett (University of Cape Town) and Mike van Graan (African Arts Institute).
Jack Becker, editor of the Public Art Review and founding juror for the International Award for Public Art, will deliver an audiovisual presentation of the recently announced finalists for the 2015 Award from regions all over the world.
An art programme that punctuates the deliberations at various times, includes works by composer Theo Herbst, visual artist Meghna Singh and a selection of visual and performing artists curated by Mandisi Sindo.
The Symposium is made possible with support from the Departments of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy Initiative.