OPEN LETTER TO THE ARTS COMMUNITY AND PAUL MASHATILE : SA’S PARTCIAPTION ON THE 55TH VENICE BIENNALE 2013

Dear Panga people , members of South Africa’s cultural community and Mr Minister (that would be you Paul).

Panga Management has, in the spirit of transparency and good governance, kindly produced an example (below) of how South Africa’s participation on the 55th Venice Biennale should be systematically handled.

PM is very much aware that you, Mr Minster, don’t come with an arts background, or with arts experience, PM is also aware that you are an intelligent and ambitious man and hence would engage with wise counsel ( That would be Panga Management) Hence PM has taken the liberty of outlining below what a call for proposals should look like, and what timelines should strictly be kept to in order to allow for the best governance of SA participation on the 55th Venice Biennale .

Below are two images, the first illustrates how SA’s participation on the 2011 Biennale was handled, the second illustrates how SA participation the 2013 Biennale must be handled.

Exhibit A (image 1) dirty, closed, and all together fucked up.

Exhibit B ( image 2) clean, open,  the picture of good governance.

Now Panga people, PM wants to highlight that the below is just an example, cut and pasted by PM , from lots of sources , made organised and relevant to South Africa.  PM also wants to double highlight that PM’s timeline started from when PM found the confirmation of SA’s participation, which was only a week ago, and PM knows that SA is already behind schedule. Realistically the call for proposals should have gone out in July this year so we are already 6 months behind PM’s ideal project plan.

Anyway Mr Minster, PM hopes that you read this, and take the wise counsel that PM is serving to you so kindly. PM also hope that the arts community reads this and brings it to the Minster’s attention . We the arts community want  best practise to be adhered to, and PM can categorically state that the arts community knows what good governance looks like so don’t even think of trying to pull a fast one!

with Love from Panga Management

Exhibit C starts now………………………

A Call for Curatorial Proposals from Galleries, Arts Organisations, Curators,  and Curatorial collectives. South Africa at Venice Biennale 2013

Closing Date 01 April 2012 ( April fools day, was an amusing choice but realistically it fits within the project plan)

The department of arts and culture South Africa through the Visual Arts Network South Africa (VANSA) is delighted to confirm that South Africa will be participating at the 55th International Art Exhibition /Venice Biennale in 2013. South Africa at Venice is supported by the DAC and the South Africa Government and is a key part of the strategy for the visual arts in South Africa.

This opportunity remains the prime international context for contemporary art and raises South Africa’s cultural profile as a place for many emerging and highly respected artists. With a variety of approaches taken to date, The department of Arts And culture is now seeking to open out the possibilities for our next presence in a transparent and democratic way, as it responds to the ongoing shifts for presenting contemporary art.

It is vital that this international platform is maximised, that the presentation speaks of contemporary South Africa and that it connects in artistic terms with other curated exhibitions and presentations at the Biennale. In essence it needs to continue to build the focus on contemporary art from and within South Africa.

This is a call to galleries, arts organisations, curators, artist/curators with a proven track record of delivering respected curatorial presentations of contemporary art. Interested parties should be based in South Africa.

To prepare for Venice in 2013, The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) with the guidance of the Visual Arts Network South Africa is initiating the following process:

1. Invite exploratory proposals through this call. (December 2011 -March 2012)
2. The Venice Advisory Committee (made up of experienced and respected Visual arts administrators/curators) will evaluate these proposals. (April 2012)
3. Offer a short development phase supported by a fee to a maximum of three proposals, (April- May 2012)
4. Make a final selection, before constituting and financing the partnership team and artist(s) to create the exhibition. (May 2012-July 2013)

Reports at the various stages will be posted on the DAC and VANSA website.

In addition to realising the exhibition at the Biennale, the partnership will need to actively contribute towards a strong education programme, audience development initiatives and raising the profile on an international stage of high quality visual arts practice in South Africa, with the potential of the exhibition being displayed at the Iziko South African National Gallery after it run at the Biennale.

For further enquiries contact VANSA at…….

 The Department of Arts and Culture invites project proposals for South Africa’s participation on the 55th Venice Biennale at the Pavilion (here’s where the department should link a plan and images of the space that the exhibition will be held in)
DAC envisions that the exhibition will be a critical and polemical undertaking that explores the vibrant potential of contemporary South African art to contribute significantly to the artistic, cultural, intellectual, and political imaginaries of the contemporary world. Issues that to a great extent define our contemporaneity such as the relationship of the nation and the national, mobility and migration, and majority and minority groups, as well as possible responses to the demands of globalization and nation building, are intrinsic to the work of contemporary South Africa artists through their cultures and lived experience, past and present, just as they are to the work of other artists on the margins of our current artistic and political condition. The 55th Venice Biennale offers the possibility of engaging artistically with the world in the framework of these issues, but also, and perhaps more importantly, moving further towards imagining it otherwise. As such, it is clear that the notion of the proposed exhibition needs to be approached critically to ensure a balance between artistic visions and the pragmatics of social emancipation. Both represent crucial challenges with which the project must engage.

Project Proposals and Procedure:

Deadline for submissions: 31 March 2012

Project proposals must include a curatorial vision for the project (max. 1 page), brief outline of the organizational framework, timetable for project development and realization, brief description of the financial plan, and curriculum vitae and/or profile of the collective or art institution making the proposal. Curators and/or project organizers , curatorial collectives, and/or art institutions are eligible to apply. Applications should be submitted via e-mail to VANSA no later than 31 March 2012.

The Department of Arts and Culture, together with a panel of experts will select a maximum of three proposals to be further elaborated in detail. Applicants will be notified at the latest by April the 7, 2012. Selected finalists will have three weeks to develop their proposals further. The deadline for submitting second-round detailed project proposals is 1st of May 2012. The final decision will be announced by May 15th, 2012.

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