From June 2023 until March 2024, the streets of Stellenbosch will once again be a public gallery. This time showcasing eight large-scale fine art photographs by master photographers from the African continent.
The Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST) is proud to open its ninth annual public art exhibition in June. Launched in 2012, this non-profit trust fulfils its mandate to democratise fine art and educate the next generation of creative thinkers by hosting free outdoor art exhibitions throughout the town. This year SOST is proud to celebrate the medium of photography, and to honour a group of renowned photographers from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Zimbabwe. Curator, Anelisa Mangcu, carefully selected the photographs and artists according to the theme: “The theme Freedom, I dream up for myself and others, is an exploration of a visual language that bridges gaps between cultures, creates understanding and inspires empathy and connection. The works selected in this exhibition are intended to be more mindful to the subtleties of our dreams and how we view the world. The medium of photography teaches us to look, to look again and to do so harder. It has had the ability to change perception, to encourage understanding and to create a sense of urgency when needed,” she says. Mangcu goes on to say, “It is impossible to select a favourite work, but I am personally very excited that we are exhibiting the famous Nuit de Noël (Happy Club), 1963 by Malick Sidibé. This photograph is studied by history of art students around the world, and it epitomises the joy and connectivity that I wanted the exhibition to embody.”
As part of the education programme, SOST is excited to launch the emerging photographer competition on Youth Day, where students from the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography and Stellenbosch University are invited to submit their best work inspired by the theme Alchemy. Their works will be seen by our panel of judges who are some of the most respected art practitioners in the world. The top three finalists will have the opportunity to have a group exhibition in Stellenbosch, with the guidance and mentorship of our curator Anelisa Mangcu.
Founding trustee, Andi Norton, explains the reasoning behind the launch of the exhibition during Winter: “There is something special about Stellenbosch at this time of year. The trees are bare and the artworks really stand out, adding an element of surprise and interest for locals and visitors. The winter months are also a great time for us to engage with the schools, as the calendar is a bit quieter and more children can participate in the walking art tours and engage with the education programme before the busy end of year” she says. Running for 10 months, out-of-town visitors will also have plenty of time to see the exhibition during the busier tourist season. Each artwork is accompanied by an information plaque in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. There is also a QR code which can be scanned for more information.
Corporate patron, Private Clients by Old Mutual Wealth has been instrumental in making the exhibition and emerging photographer competition possible. “We are proud to be patrons of SOST and are inspired by their mission to make art accessible to all,” says Jean Minnaar, Managing Director of Private Clients by Old Mutual Wealth. “As such, providing support for SOST’s ongoing education efforts for emerging and established artists is close to our hearts as we believe that this kind of creative thinking is important in developing a vibrant and diverse economy.”
Public art in Stellenbosch would not be possible without the support of the Municipality and the executive mayor. Trustee Khulekani Ndzimande notes “When presenting the project to the mayor, municipal manager and head of the town’s tourism body, Visit Stellenbosch, it was apparent that the leadership of the town is truly visionary. They understand the role that public art plays in tourism, economic development, education and social upliftment. SOST is not financially supported by the
municipality or tourism office, but their support in allowing placement of the artworks and in promoting the work we do is incredible.”
For more information go to www.sost-exhibitions.com.
List of artists and artworks:
- Berni Searle (South Africa), Lament I-VI, 2011
- Malick Sidibé (Mali) – Nuit de Noël (Happy Club), 1963 © Malick Sidibé Courtesy MAGNIN-A Gallery, Paris
- Obie Oberholzer (South Africa), Ouma Anna Jaars 99-year-old Rooifontein – Northern Cape Circa, 1987
- James Barnor (Ghana), Two Sisters in-law, Florence and Gifty, 1973/74
- Roger Ballon (South Africa) Dejected, 2000 From the series Outland
- Calvin Dondo (Zimbabwe), La Ronde, 1991
- Akinbode Akinbiyi (Nigeria), Bar Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos. 1999 From the series Sea Never Dry
- David Goldblatt (South Africa), The house painter and his family, Pretoria Street, Hillbrow January 1973