Stellenbosch Triennale aims to make Stellenbosch a primary destination of multi-disciplinary art in Africa. The Stellenbosch Triennale, brainchild of the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust, takes place from 11 February to 30 April 2020 in a location renowned for its halls of academia and historical vineyards. The upcoming international showcase, extraordinary in terms of international reach and extent of art on show, will place creativity in critical dialogue with the society that fosters and exhibits it. The theme Tomorrow There Will Be More of Us informs the further seven multidisciplinary platforms – that provide meeting points for engagement with the divided past, the collective present and imagined futures.
The Curators’ Exhibition compiled by Chief Curator Khanyisile Mbongwa, with Triennale co-curator: Bernard Akoi-Jackson will feature 20 artists from a range of African countries, and will interpret the theme. The multidisciplinary art exhibition situated inside The Woodmill and on the surrounding precinct will provide a gateway where visitors will be introduced to the Triennale’s other exhibitions and installations. According to Chief Curator Mbongwa,
“African creatives confront us with what is possible for a renewal to happen utilising art as a lens, a course correction, a stimulus around curiosity and imagination. Through the Triennale, we bring work from the continent to the southernmost tip as an intersection of time – where the past, present and future are in dialogue.”
The journey of the Stellenbosch Triennale will take in various sites of engagement, the geographical location supporting ideas of foundation and transition.
ON THE CUSP
An exhibition of artworks by 10 young African artists, curated by Dr Bernard Akoi-Jackson, On The Cusp is about revealing and unravelling the creative talents of tomorrow. Focused on young art practitioners who have pushed their creative boundaries and sit on the cusp of beauty and magic through their aesthetic, conceptual, methods. On The Cusp is a point of transition between two different states; looking at the present and seeing what the creative promises to deliver.
FROM THE VAULT
An archival exploration forms part of the education programme, titled From The Vault. This programme exhumes archives and engages with buried museum collections as a critical resource in contextualising and mapping contemporary society and culture. The curator’s statement asks, “What happens if we look at the vault through speculative lens; if we suspend historical frameworks and adopt inter-subjective processes of meaning making? Can we speculate on Future history?” From The Vault represents a critical engagement with time by browsing through historical acquisitions from Stellenbosch University and the University of Fort Hare, examining their significance as fragments of the past and showing how museum vaults can be a compass for the future.
DIE BRAAK PAVILION
The Pavilion designed by award-winning architect Pieter Mathews and situated on the centrally located Die Braak in town, will provide a platform for education, talks, information gathering and dialogue. The pavilion itself will be an artwork, temporary in nature, highlighting the ethos of the sponsor and the curator, speaking to social and environmental issues.
Concepts of Freedom Film Festival
Concepts of Freedom Film Festival is curated by Kenyan musician and filmmaker Silas Miami and will be shown throughout the town. Venues will be both outdoors and indoors; workshops will be held for aspiring filmmakers. Divided into three parts, there’s a visual art platform titled the ‘Concepts of Freedom’ — Film Meditation consisting of retrospective work by two African contemporaries: Sunny Dolat (Kenya/Sao Tome) and Athi-Patra Rugra (SA). A feature films section consists of six works and a video art exhibition consists of the works of seven artists from the African continent and the Diaspora.
The Imaginarium will provide a unique learning opportunity for learners of all ages. It will provide a supplementary, online, open source (free) discovery/learning resource centre, accessed through the Triennale website. It is designed to stimulate imagination and support 21st Century learning skills.
Em-Bodied: Being & Becoming:
Performative Art Practices Festival is to be curated by celebrated South African curator and choreographer Jay Pather, Khanyisile Mbongwa and Bernard Akoi-Jackson and will use as its location the town of Stellenbosch, allowing for dialogue with its history and architecture. Trustees of the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST), established in 2012, are Dr Mike Mavura, France Beyers, Michael van Wyk, Andi Norton and Elana Brundyn.
The trustees and curators of the Stellenbosch Triennale aim to make Stellenbosch the primary destination of multi-disciplinary art in Africa, in 2020, by tapping into the creative impetus that is reverberating across the continent. According to Dr Mike Mavura,
“The Triennale turns Stellenbosch into a curated public laboratory for creative expressions and engagements in response to society’s questions now, then and there; what kind of people do we want to be? What relations to nature do we cherish? What knowledge, and what technologies do we deem appropriate? What aesthetic values do we hold?”
The Stellenbosch Triennale takes place from 11 February to 30 April 2020.