A new curator-in-chief for the Johannesburg Art Gallery has been appointed – Khwezi Gule. Considering the tough times the institution has faced recently – the gallery flooding last year due to roof leaks, and a previous curator suddenly leaving, a general lack of maintenance – Gule comes as a welcomed breath of fresh air, and a sense of hope for the gallery. Having worked with JAG before as curator of contemporary collections, he already has an insider’s understanding of the way in which the gallery has operated.
Having travelled and viewed museums and galleries in large cities across the world, he aims to bring JAG up to the standard that these museums are known for. His vision is for the gallery to become a must-see in Johannesburg . Within this, he will interrogate the position and function of the gallery within the Johannesburg context. This will inform a more relevant broader curatorial strategy.
“Whether it is in our exhibitions, or in our collecting policies and educational programmes, our ethos has to reflect an African outlook. The JAG has to become one of the leading museums of art on the continent,” Gule states in an interview with Huffington Post.
This statement presents a more encouraging future for the gallery. A future that is more embedded within the space in which the gallery is located, and is in touch with debates about the relevance of institutions such as JAG.