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As part of ICI’s Curator’s Perspective—an itinerant public discussion series featuring national and international curators—Jay Pather, Director of the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA), will speak about curating performance and live art in public space.
For his Curator’s Perspective, Pather will address curating performance and live art in public spheres. Drawing from his experiences of curating the Infecting the City Public Art Festival and the ICA Live Art Festivals in Cape Town, South Africa, Pather will also talk through ideas of curating in cities of acute transition, societies in crisis and in contexts of intersectional (race, class, gender) tensions. Cape Town has been hailed as one of the top tourist destinations of the world (recently by The New York Times, TripAdvisor and The Guardian). It is also a city where apartheid was born and even in the wake of a “rainbow nation” twenty two years after democracy boasts amongst the most unequal societies in the world. With inscriptions of inequality deeply embedded in the topography of the city, Pather navigates curatorial and artistic interventions that both arise from this context and address issues of persistent abnegation. He will draw visual examples from political movements such as Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall as well as the work of artists such as Boyzie Cekwana, Nora Chipaumire, Khanyisile Mbongwa, Chuma Sopotela and Sthembile Msezane.
Pather will also discuss curating presence and performance in spaces of crisis as a paradox in the inherent implications of appropriation, commodification and gentrification–but also as potential for fundamental questions about art and curatorial practice in such spaces. He offers provocations for the creation of new grammars that may meet the absences and failures of inherited curatorial strategies that have not kept up with the pace and increasingly robust calls for equality and social justice in a city like Cape Town.