Exhibition at Stellenbosch University Museum

Conceptual artist, lecturer and mentor, Emma Willemse, pictured with her artwork, Floor Uprooting Device, at an art walkabout, flanked by Cherry Crowden and Michael Kohla. Picture: Ricky Brecht

Forward? Forward! Forward is a unique group art exhibition hosted by the Stellenbosch University Museum as part of the Stellenbosch University centenary programme, which brings together a collection of 100 compelling, innovative and thought-provoking artworks, which serve as catalysts for debate and engagement regarding the future of Stellenbosch University and higher education in Africa.

An open call was made in 2018 for artists to submit proposals for artworks that engage with ideas about and engagement with the future of the university and higher education.

According to the university’s two curators charged with the project, Ulrich Wolff and Elizabeth Miller-Vermeulen, the response delivered an intriguing range of creative expressions in a variety of media, addressing numerous issues such as identity and cultural perspectives, mentorship, literacy, fields of knowledge, human-to-human connectivity, language, campus power structures and politics, social systems and replicating past mistakes.

A selection panel considered more than 250 proposals, leading to 60 established and emerging artists being featured in the Forward? Forward! Forward… exhibition.

Museum director Bongani Mgijima says the exhibition enables the university community to think beyond the past and the present.

“Commemorations, by their very nature, tend to look backwards. By facing forward, this exhibition departs from the norm. It aims to stimulate discussions that will enable the university to move beyond its divisive and exclusive pasts into an all-embracing and inclusive future,” he says.

During the time of the exhibition, talks and walkabouts are being held for the general public and a commemorative publication, extending the futuristic theme in a variety of essays by authors from the Institute for Futures Research, is on sale.

The exhibition is on until the end of April. Call 021 808 3695/3029 for more information.