April – May 2021.
The Curatorial Connective was developed in response to the question ‘How do we grow the critical middle between commerce and the academy?’ and connect curators – or those with an interest in curatorial practices – with private collectors (staged here as practitioners in their own right) and, by extension, artworks that do not necessarily enjoy the opportunity to be researched and engaged with as those held in public collections might.
The Curatorial Connective was hosted by A4 and the Scheryn Collection along with the generous support of collectors Wendy Fisher, Pulane Kingston, Emile Stipp and Mfundi Vundla. The Connective consisted of a programme of workshops and exchanges facilitated by cultural practitioners from across the South African arts ecosystem. The Connective connected emerging curators with collectors, and collections, whose primary focus is the conservation of contemporary art from the African continent.
The aim of the Connective was to provide emerging curators with access, information, and the opportunity to form partnerships within the arts ecology of South Africa. In turn, patrons will have the occasion to discuss works held within private collections, and discuss the collectors’ methodology and practice.
12 young curators were selected from a shortlist of 25, which in turn was selected from nearly 50 dynamic applications from across the globe. The Connective had participants from Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Tunisia, Taiwan, Senegal, the USA, as well as South Africa. These young curators interacted with collectors, as well as artists, curators, gallerists, NPOs, writers, arts workers within museums, and independent spaces and places that are a little off-centre, to give insight into the myriad ways of working within the arts ecology.
In addition to the 12 curators, the Connective engaged with over thirty contributors across the globe compiled pages and pages of articles and other resources. Connecting with such a group of vibrant creative practitioners across the world with an investment in art from the global South has fostered an extraordinary amount of reflection and expansion, and enabled us to dream bigger for future iterations.
Countless ideas were shared during the hours of conversation in the Connective’s sessions, the virtual kitchen. We look forward to some of these mature into whatever initiatives make the most sense to this first group of curators going forward.
- Kathryn Smith, Welcome Address during final Connective Session, 28 May 2021
- Sara de Beer, Curatorial Connective Open Call, April 2021