September 22, 2007 - Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona - Apartheid. The South African Mirror
September 22, 2007

Apartheid. The South African Mirror

APARTHEID
The South African Mirror

26th September, 2007 – 13th January, 2008

Press conference: Wednesday, 26th September at 12:00
Inauguration: Wednesday, 26th September at 19:00

Centre de Cultura
Contemporània de Barcelona
Montalegre, 5
08001 Barcelona
Phone 93 306 41 00
Fax 93 306 41 01
global [​at​] cccb.org

www.cccb.org

“Apartheid in South Africa can be seen, not only as an extreme manifestation of old, deeply-rooted Western racism, but also as a dramatic but clear precedent, metaphor and paradigm of some fundamentally inherent aspects of the current world order.”
Pep Subirós, curator

The CCCB presents Apartheid. The South African Mirror, a conceptual and visual approach to the old and new forms of prejudice and racial discrimination, based on a wide selection of original artworks and documentary material.

The exhibition documents the main stages and characteristics of a tragically famous history and scenario which speak not only of the South African experience, but also of its European legacy, of racial ideologies and of the racist clichés and practices fed by Western modernism, and how these prejudices constitute even today a powerful instrument for justifying and maintaining the most arbitrary injustices as well as an important, almost impenetrable barrier for the construction of a cooperative social order, which is egalitarian and ultimately socially sustainable.

The exhibition begins with a historical approximation to racism, and documents the development of the ideologies and practices that establish different categories of human beings –the “races”– in the same period, paradoxically, in which modern ideas are established with regard to dignity and equal rights for all individuals.

Following this, and as its central part, the exhibition shows in detail the social, political, economic, cultural and territorial system of apartheid in force in South Africa between 1948 and 1994. Apartheid as an extreme and transparent form of deeply-rooted Western racism.

Finally, the exhibition argues that over the last two decades new forms of racism and racial segregation have developed on a large scale, both within our democratic societies as well as, and especially, in the relationship between rich and poor nations.

To illustrate this historical narrative, Apartheid. The South African Mirror presents a wide selection of South African artworks from the nineteenth century to the present day, paying special attention to the period of Apartheid. As well as offering a panoramic view of the sensitivities and attitudes of the finest creators in relation to the themes addressed in the exhibition, it brings attention to how artistic creation has had and still has a major responsibility in and impact on the construction and consolidation of or the fight against prejudices and practices which, in the long term, dehumanize not only the victims, but especially, those who promote and are responsible for these attitudes.

The exhibition includes key works by the most internationally acclaimed South African artists – Jane Alexander, David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Santu Mofokeng, Berni Searle, Penny Siopis, Paul Stopforth, Sue Williamson, etc.–, but also many others of extraordinary importance and quality barely known outside South Africa: Albert Adams, Peter Clarke, Ernest Cole, Dumile Feni, Billy Mandindi, Ephrain Ngatane, Gerard Sekoto and Durant Sihlali, among others. The final sections of the exhibition include works by artists from the most recent generations, such as Conrad Botes, Churchill Madikida, Johannes Phokela, Nandipha Mntambo, Tracey Rose, Lolo Veleko and Donovan Ward, which demonstrate the continuous vitality of the South African art scene and the renewed commitment by many artists to their historical context. Some of the works, such as in the case of Jane Alexander, Conrad Botes, Nandipha Mntambo, Zwelethu Mthethwa and Peter McKenzie, have been especially produced for this exhibition.

Apartheid. The South African mirror is a co-production of the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona and Bancaja. The exhibition is showing at the CCCB from 26th September, 2007 to 13th January, 2008. It has been organized by the writer, Pep Subirós.

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