After a year unlike any other, we wanted to reach out with an update from the Scheryn Art Collection. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well and that you are able to rewind and reflect at the end of a long year.
At Scheryn, our response during this turbulent period has been to focus on our core purpose: supporting artists and galleries. We did this by acquiring 16 artworks from 13 different artists hailing from countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and Norway. The works acquired were by artists including Mawande Ka Zenzile, Kemang Wa Lehulere, James Webb, Dada Khanyisa, Kudzanai Chiurai, Gareth Nyandoro, Mikhael Subotzky, Ighsaan Adams, Zanele Muholi, Elias Sime, Maja Marx, Frida Orupabo and Chemu Ng’ok.
We also continued our support of other initiatives within the arts community –– specifically those that promote and showcase African contemporary art. We made a concerted effort to identify initiatives that sought to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-related restrictions, lockdowns, and loss of funding in the art world. In various ways, we supported the RAW Material Company, The District Six Museum, The Vulnerable Artist Fund and Solidarity Fund. We were excited to collaborate with A4 Arts Foundation on their CCA at home project with the Centre for Curating the Archive. It was inspiring to see how A4 and CCA reacted quickly to the COVID lockdown to pull off such an ambitious and fruitful online project. We look forward to building on this momentum in 2021 with new collaborative projects and partnerships that support and showcase African contemporary art.
Throughout 2020, we continued to loan artworks from the collection as much as possible. Although many exhibitions had to be postponed, it was still gratifying to be able to share the collection with the public. We were happy to extend the duration of existing loans with museums so that the public had the best opportunity to see the exhibitions once COVID restrictions were eased. We loaned out artworks by Ibrahim Mahama, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Goncalo Mabunda, Robin Rhode, Athi-Patra Ruga, Zanele Muholi, Gerhard Marx, Kemang Wa Lehulere and Brett Murray to various exhibitions taking place at public museums, private museums, and foundations, both locally and internationally. We are very pleased with this aspect of the collection and continue to welcome any loan requests for artworks in the collection.
As did everyone, we had to adapt to the new realities of COVID. We took the opportunity to digitise our collection and our accompanying library. It was a fantastic opportunity to revisit our library and understand its role in providing insight and context to individual artworks and the collection. We look forward to making the library available for research purposes in the future. We undertook a series of Zoom calls with various museums, foundations, galleries, auction houses and collectors. Initially, it started as a way to stay connected with friends and colleagues, but it quickly grew into a way to host deeper discussions about various artists, exhibitions, collecting best practices, as well as share future plans with people from all over the world. In such a disorientating year, it was humbling to be able to spend valuable time with new and old friends.
Looking towards 2021, we have some exciting projects that we are hoping to announce in the new year. We will continue to build the collection around African contemporary art by supporting artists, galleries, museums, and foundations. We want to continue to grow, share, and conserve knowledge of contemporary African art by making sustainable and purposeful contributions to the African art community. We look forward to investigating ways of displaying and contextualising the collection and collaborating with others in the art community.
We hope that you and your loved ones have a restful festive season and successful 2021.
Image: Blind Sight, 2020 © Maja Marx. Courtesy of the artist and Whatiftheworld, Cape Town