Curating is caring for the culture, above all by enabling its artistic or creative transformers to pursue their work. This facilitation is done, preferably, with empathy and insight, effectively, and with some style.
– Terry Smith, 2015
Struts of steel intersect descending light-beams. Geometric in design, corrugated iron and crosshatched cubes reveal a cerulean sky. The combined vision of Natasha Becker, Lara Koseff and Londi Modiko present UNDERLINE. What initiated with a public curatorial call will soon transform the industrial space of Museum of African Design (MOAD) in Maboneng into a new platform for independent curators on the continent to present emerging artists.
The inaugural edition is open to the public between the 12th and 15th of September 2019 and will showcase twelve curated exhibitions – spanning a variety of conceptual material and medium. In terms of feminist offerings, Carlyn Strydom presents WOMXN Underground, featuring Babalwa Tom and Amy Simons as a means to explore the resilience of womxn. Similarly, in YenzaKwenzeke, Fulufhelo Mobadi showcases the work of talented female photographers Lebogang Tlhako and Nonzuzo Gxekwa to think through representation of Africa through the lens of social media. Christa Dee’s Prepossessing the Future, explores notions of the self through fictional personas and collective identity in the work of Natalie Paneng, Zana Masombuka and Lunga Ntila. Further, cultural and personal memories are interwoven in Familial Threads by curatorial collective Re-curators.
The textual strategies of curator Heinrich Groenewald, present inter(verse); a collaborative intervention between poet Lindsay Langeveldt and artist Katharien de Villiers. In a related approach, the last five years of iconic Zimbabwean writer, Dambudzo Marechera, are interpreted by Black Chalk & Co. in The Rose that Grew from Concrete. Movement, access and visibility within the context of the continent is interrogated by Refilwe Nkomo’s Portals, which dares to imagine a space of expanded possibilities, empowerment and emancipation. Crossing the Atlantic for the first time is a show co-curated by Aline Xavier and Laura Barbi from the GAL Art & Research in Brazil. The selection of works reflects a universal existential feeling during a contemporary moment of uncertainty in Immense Sky, Here Abyss. Akin to this is an investigation of emptiness and spatiality of outer spaceby Nthabiseng Mokoena inThe Whole Universe is Full.
Johannesburg // Fragmenting Space and Time, co-curated by Nkgopoleng Moloi and Gemma Hart, conceptually reimaging modes of knowledge production and forms of spatial intervention on a more local level. Similarly geographically focused, Sibongile Msimango and Sam Goldblatt’s Middle Centre presents the work of Kgomotso Neto, to showcase public art in and around Johannesburg’s inner city. Amaya Delmas of Olwandle Studio intends to take a ‘street view’ through a sincere exploration of the societally marginal and overlooked.
UNDERLINE is resolutely committed in their vison to supporting independent voices in contemporary art and hope to see it expand further in the future:
We hope it will take root, grow, and blossom. We would love to continue offering the most exciting and creative shows, to increase the participation of curators from the continent, and to offer emerging curators greater support and mentorship. The platform is funded by its three founders and through the in-kind support of a host of incredible partners. Together, we have created extraordinary additional opportunities for our curators and artists. In the future, we definitely want to increase private and public support and partnerships in order for participating curators to achieve amazing results.