PROGRAMME C: WHAT WE DESERVE
Curated by: FARZANAH BADSHA
THURSDAY AFTERNOON : 12:30 – 17:00
Explore these works on your own within the timeframes indicated OR meet at 12:30 outside the Africa Centre (28 St George’s Mall) for a guided tour, stopping for a short duration at each.
We get the public art that we deserve. It is no mistake that the public art that remains of colonial and apartheid South Africa tends to be monoliths of stone and sculptures of “big” men, on or off their high horses. What public art are we going to leave behind? What is it going to say about our society now and in the future?
If we get what we deserve, it puts a burden on artists to be brave and innovative – to leave behind art with joy, pain, beauty, provocation, wit, pathos; that is critical, that is celebratory, that captures memories, and that makes memorials to all and not just to a select few. It also puts the public(s) in a position where they actively need to demand art and public spaces in which artists are enabled to make brave art.
These may be permanent objects, which need as much thought and care as possible put into deciding what they reflect about us. Other times, the works live on in the impact that they make on audiences and in the residue left behind: photographs, audio-visual documents, newspaper and internet threads of debate which write them into our histories and critical thinking.
The works in What We Deserve suggest some of the many ways in which artists can potentially engage with public space, and the many publics that use them. Some of the works are silent, some make noise, some are ephemeral, and others leave physical traces. Some require technology and teams of people to realise them, and others are resolutely simple. There are multiple themes and multiple stories being told – what brings them together is their desire to engage with the public(s) and suggest ways to get the art we deserve.