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Triennale: healing through art discourse
One of the exceptional African artworks at the Stellenbosch Triennale now running at various locations in town.

The Stellenbosch Triennale 2020, brainchild of the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust, was launched last week at one of its main venues, the Woodmill.

The Triennale opened on Tuesday and runs until 30 April. It will showcase a remarkable collection of artistic talent, promising an event in which contemporary African art will hold a critical dialogue with the society that fosters and exhibits it.

The theme “Tomorrow There Will Be More of Us”, conceived by chief curator and artistic director Khanyisile Mbongwa, will be a thread running through the seven multidisciplinary platforms. All will provide meeting points for engagement with the divided past, the collective present and imagined futures.

The curator’s exhibition has been conceived by Mbongwa, with co-curator Bernard Akoi-Jackson.

It will feature 20 multidisciplinary artists from a range of African countries.

On the list selected by the curatorial team are some of the world’s most revered artists, whose works are situated at the borderline between avant-garde and mainstream. There are conceptualist and sculptor Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana), visual artist Sethembile Msezane (South Africa) and filmmaker Kivu Ruhorahoza (Rwanda) – to name a few.

Mbongwa sees the theme, and participants, as being part of an unfolding narrative. “For me, ‘Tomorrow There Will Be More of Us’ is about imagining (and creating) common sustainable futures, by looking at the wounds (their layers, complexities and nuances) and instigating ways or methods of healing,” she said about her motivation for a multi-media showing that interrogates difficult histories.

Recently appointed Artistic Director of the Triennale, Mbongwa is a Cape Town-based independent curator, an award winning artist and a sociologist who works in the public space, engaging through interdisciplinary and performative practice, unpacking the socio-political, socio-economic, socio-racial, gender-queer and historical-contemporary complexities and nuances of the everyday.

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