Curatorial development for Zimbabwe, region

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Gabi Ngcobo

From October 22-25, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe will host a Curatorial Development and Training Workshop that is targeted at university students, artists and graduate art students from Zimbabwean institutions of learning and the SADC region.

The workshop is geared as a continuation to the Curatorial Forum, which was held in 2012.

The programme of the workshop has been designed to be intensive and exhaustive in training the potential curators towards real-world applications of research and information towards the realisation of exhibitions, art fairs and public programmes.

The key drivers of the workshop are vested in problems that have been noted over the past decade.

It has been prevalent that training or empowering potential curators is more vibrant away from the Southern African region, prospective curators be geared up to be more intervening to their local environments so as to avoid a brain drain of them moving to the Global South.

The decolonial discourse will serve as the basis for the participants of the            workshop to look to the region and their respective nations with regards to their practice.

Institutions of learning are the key focus of the workshop as students can be easily linked to various institutions upon conclusion of their education; of note, the ratio of curators to artists is uneven, and of course, is lower in Southern Africa as opposed to West and North Africa.

The curatorial training and development workshop is a programme that can incubate the next crop of the region’s curators.

The 20 participants of this workshop will benefit as they become the nominal practitioners in their cities of origin, an advantageous notch in their figurative belts that can act in the positive as time progresses.

To expand on the reasoning behind the curatorial training and development workshop may require the manifestations of curatorship on the continent.

The staging of the exhibition Magicians of the Earth (Magiciens de la Terre) in 1989 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) brought to the fore a critical consideration on contemporary art.

The exhibition had been staged in a Western Institution, composing 50 percent of non-Western Art with the superintendent of this illustrious exhibition being in the profile of Jean- Hubert Martin, a French curator.

The trend of African cultural produce being curated in the halls of Western institutions was thus open for deliberations, and with the rise of African curators such as Okwui Enwezour with his avant-garde exhibition The Short Century and Simon Njami’s Africa Remix; a modification in the creation and consumption of African Art and Culture began.

The problem therein became the curatorship of two individuals being the mainstay of Africa’s creative mix.

The rise of a generation of curators such as Koyo Kuoh, Bisi Silva, Salah Hassan, Meskerem Asseuged, Christine Eyene and Marylinn Doualah among others; led to new narratives in the Global South and more engagement of the Art and Curatorial Practice on the continent, by the continent and for the continent.

In this nexus, the National Gallery, in 2012, facilitated a Curatorial Forum which cultivated young Art Professionals from across the continent in best practices in curatorship.

All the participants at this workshop have gone forth in the practice of curatorship of Art of the Global South.

The likes of Candice Allison, Suzanna Sousa and Gabi Ngcobo were participants at this Forum.

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe has thus embarked on facilitating this programme to aid future Curators by intensively following up on the previous forum.

The workshop costs $300 to register and this will cover refreshments and training material for the participants.

The workshop kicks off at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare on of October 22.

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