Dialogue on African cities – The Early Morning Market and Warwick precinct streets are the canvas for transformative art

18 September 2009

An exhibition currently running as part of a Young Artists Project, at the NSA, Durban, turns the gallery walls into a living city space with photographs of the people who live and work in the Warwick precinct.

A video, Shopping Mall vs Market uses a split screen to show the different spaces – the controlled middle-class, commercial space of Musgrave Shopping Centre and the informal economy Early Morning Market, bustling with the energy and life of the African marketplace where the urban poor are earning a living. The market is currently under threat of demolition (to make way for a shopping mall).

The project involves visiting artists from several countries and is supported by KZNSA, Pro Helvetica and dala – a local art/architecture organisation. Dala has been filming the EMM traders’ struggle to stop the demolition of the market over the last six months.

NSA website: http://www.nsagallery.co.za/current_nivea.htm: The 2009 Young Artists Project aims to link emerging artists from countries that border South Africa in order to develop a series of interventions in public space. Four emerging creative practitioners from Lesotho (Retsepile Moholi), Botswana (Mojorosi Modisane), Mozambique (Idelio Vilanculos) and South Africa (Michele Silk) have been selected to participate in the project. These artists arrived in Durban on 16 August 2009, and will be in residency until 10 September 2009.

The purpose of this artist-in-residency programme is to develop a cross-border public dialogue on cities, space and art for social change in southern Africa. The project is aimed at developing meaningful collaboration and public participation in the practice of art for urban transformation.

YAP 2009 is as much about process as it is about the eventual outcome. For the purpose of this project the studio, the canvas, the gallery will be in the streets of Durban. The documentation of the process and products will be exhibited at the KZNSA. A catalogue will also be produced as a record of the process. In order to generate further public dialogue about public art for social change, a forum discussion will be organized where artists will have an opportunity to present their work to members of the public.