After another unpredictable year, we are reflecting and looking forward to 2022. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well and that you can unwind at the end of this long year.
In 2021, we acquired 15 artworks from three artists hailing from South Africa, Angola and Morocco. The works acquired were by Ernest Cole, Kiluanji Kia Henda, and Achraf Touloub. We are very happy to have acquired a portfolio of works by Ernest Cole from the Ernest Cole Family Trust. We look forward to making these works accessible for educational and research purposes.
We had a busy year exploring alternative channels for investigating, contextualising, and exhibiting the collection. We started with a collaboration with the A4 Arts Foundation and the Centre for Curating the Archive. This was the second iteration of a similar project that ran in 2020. The project was designed by dr. heeten bhagat and created for students to learn production skills for successful curatorial work. The project culminated with virtual exhibitions produced by the students using 20 artworks from the Scheryn Collection.
We continued our productive relationship with A4 to co-produce the Curatorial Connective. The Connective aimed to provide emerging curators with access, information, and the opportunity to form partnerships within the arts ecology of South Africa. The Connective was developed to answer the question: ‘How do we grow the critical middle between commerce and the academy?’ We are thankful to A4, the Tshabalala Kingston Collection, the Emile Stipp Collection, the Vundla Collection, the participants, and the contributors for making this a successful Connective.
Finally, we finished off the year with our first online exhibition. ‘This stays between you and me’ was curated by Phokeng Setai and created in collaboration with The PLOT. The exhibition is a meditation on the transformation of personal space amid the migration of human sociality to the digital scape. The exhibition takes place in “The Server Room”, which is an alternative gallery and exhibition space that seeks to make works from the collection more accessible.
Throughout 2021, our loan programme was active and we were excited to support new exhibitions after the unpredictability of 2020. We loaned artworks by Johannes Phokela, Bronwyn Katz, Georgina Gratrix, Ian Grose, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Moshekwa Langa, Deborah Poynton, and Robin Rhode to public museums, private museums, and foundations, both locally and internationally. We continue to welcome any loan requests for artworks in the collection. It is our aim that the collection be available to the public in a way that opens educational opportunities and engages new audiences.
We are continuing to explore how we display the collection without a permanent exhibition space. This year, we focused on online engagements to make the most of the opportunities that COVID presented. We look forward to new collaborative projects and partnerships that take place physically and online in 2022. Likewise, we will continue to build the collection of African Contemporary Art by supporting artists, galleries, museums, and foundations.
We hope that you and your loved ones have a restful festive season and a successful 2022.
Image: Mare Nostrum (Black Birds), 2019 – 2020 © Kiluanji Kia Henda. Courtesy of Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg/Cape Town/London