11 - 13 April, 2018 | UJ Arts & Culture Centre


From the 11-13 April 2018 Autograph ABP (London) and VIAD, in partnership with UJ Arts & Culture hosted a three-day conference to coincide with the opening of Black Chronicles IV, an exhibition curated by Renée Mussai (Senior Curator and Head of Archive & Research at Autograph ABP) at the FADA Gallery.

Using the exhibition and photographic portraiture as a departure point, the conference built upon a critical rethinking of curatorial practice, as traditionally bound to a colonial logic of collection, arrangement, ‘safe-keeping’ and display. Challenging the authorial custodianship associated with this tradition, and its historic (but lingering) application in the ethnographic/raciogenic arrangement of marginalised bodies, proposed in this reappraisal is an ethical recourse to curatorial care – where contemporary practices linked to traditional understandings of curating, as a ‘caring for objects’, are reconstituted in relation to (re)-acknowledged subjectivities.

In seeking to engage with such curatorial approaches – as practices through which, as Anthony Bogues suggests, “we may grasp how different acts of humanization occur”[1] – the conference comprised an interdisciplinary programme of papers, presentations, panel discussions, screenings and performances.

Through an engagement with a multiplicity of critical approaches to collection, presentation and display, and the ways in which these practices impact upon audience engagement, participants reflected on curation as a means to facilitate opportunities for intersubjective encounters, through the re-inscription of voices historically consigned to the objectifying violence and routine silencing of colonial modernity.

[1] Bogues, A. 2010. Empire of Liberty: Power, Desire, & Freedom. London: University Press of New England: 119.

The Curatorial Care Humanising Practices conference & interdisciplinary platform was supported by Autograph ABP, VIAD, UJ Arts & Culture, the University of Johannesburg, the British Council Connect ZA, and the U.S. Mission South Africa.


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