Left: ASAI Members, October 2015 · Right: ASAI Staff, Feb 2014
Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI) began in 2005, concerned with the lack of engagement by South African artists, art historians and curators with their peers on the African continent. Since then ASAI has begun to understand its role as both a pan-African project as well as an initiative located in the global south. The resources generated by ASAI represent a modest contribution towards the development of discourses rooted in (rather than imposed on) formerly colonised contexts, especially in Africa, in order that a more inclusive vision of international art and art history can emerge, informed from ‘below’. Based at the University of Cape Town since 2008, but not funded by or affiliated to the university, ASAI sees its role as bridging academic and popular discourse, with artists being central to this process.
Vision, Mission and Values
To be a leading research based visual arts organisation, globally recognised for developing an effective website and for innovative projects.
- To generate quality resources on art in Africa for educational and professional contexts
- To provide a platform for current debate and polemics in the fields of art and art history in Africa
- To serve as a point of contact between scholars and art practitioners across the African continent and abroad.
- Accessibility & inclusivity: ensuring that our projects are accessible to all constituents & create opportunities for meaningful participation.
- Relevance: ensuring that our work is relevant for African and developing contexts.
- Innovation: promoting a culture of creativity, imagination, initiative, resourcefulness & collaboration in recognition of the necessity to share resources & develop innovative solutions.
- Inclusive africanism: promoting critical engagement with what it means to be African in the contemporary, postcolonial, globalised context.
The following distinguished individuals accepted invitations from ASAI to become honorary patrons. Patrons contribute directly to ASAI mostly in advising future projects and supporting ongoing fundraising efforts.
Dr. Rasheed Araeen
Artist and Founding Editor of Third Text, London, UK. Publications include Making Myself Visible (1984) and Art Beyond Art (2010). Curated The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain at the Hayward Gallery, London (1989).
Retired clinical psychologist and former Director General of Education, RSA (1994-1999). Publications include biographies of Es’kia Mphahlele (1983, 2010), Gerard Sekoto (1996, 2004) and Dumile Feni (2012).
Independent curator and critic. Former editor of Gallery magazine, Zimbabwe. Curated Transitions: Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe 1960-2004 for the Africa Centre, London (2005); and co-curated Dak’Art, Senegal (2006).
Chair of Africana Studies and Professor of the graduate program of Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture at the University of New York, Binghamton, USA. Founded www.africaresource.com and www.ijele.com . Publications include Contemporary Textures: Multi-dimensionality in Nigerian Art (1999).
Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie
Associate Professor, Department of History of Arts and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. Founder and editorial director of Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. Publications include Ben Enwonwu: The Making of an African Modernist (2008) and Making History: African Collectors and the Canon of African Art (2011).
Artist and Director, Asele Institute, Nimo, Nigeria. Co-founded Zaria Art Society (1958) for which he articulated notion of ‘Natural Synthesis’ (1960). In the 1970s he developed an international art history curriculum at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Publications include Art in Development: A Nigerian Perspective (1982).
Director, Origins Centre, University of Witwatersrand. Former Director, Arts, Culture and Heritage Services, City of Johannesburg, and former Director of Cultural Industries, Department of Arts & Culture, South Africa. Curated The Neglected Tradition: Towards a New History of South African Art at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (1988).
Board of Directors
ASAI is governed by a board of directors:
Farzanah Badsha (secretary). Elected 2010, re-elected 2015
Charl Bezuidenhout (treasurer). Elected 2012
Nomusa Makhubu (chairperson). Elected 2015
Dathini Mzayiya. Elected 2015 (previously 2008-10)
Mario Pissarra (managing director). Appointed 2008
Ayesha Price. Elected 2014
Donovan Ward. Elected 2010, re-elected 2015
NB Registration of new directors is in process
Glen Arendse (2010-12)
Gill Cowan (2008-10)
Garth Erasmus (2008-10)
Liesl Hartman (2010-12)
Tony Mhayi (2008-10)
Siona O’Connell (2012-14)
Donald Parenzee (2012-14)
Tracey Saunders (2008-12)
Athena Sotomi (2008-10)
Glen Arendse Artist. Cultural activist. Student Enrolment Manager, University of the Western Cape. Director, Cape Town Community TV.
Andre Barnard Independent arts administrator.
Farzanah Badsha Freelance arts administrator and curator. Director, ASAI.
Charl Bezuidenhout Gallerist. Director, World Art. Director, ASAI.
Garth Erasmus Artist. Trustee, Greatmore Artists Studios.
Michael Godby Art historian and curator. Professor Emeritus, University of Cape Town.
Liesl Hartman Art educator. Principal, Frank Joubert Art Centre.
Randolph Hartzenberg Artist and art educator.
David Hlongwane Artist. Curator, Mayibuye Centre, University of the Western Cape.
Zemba Luzamba Artist.
Nomusa Makhubu Artist, curator, and Lecturer, Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT. Director, ASAI.
Anthony Mhayi Artist and art educator. Art Facilitator/ Field Manager, Lalela Project, Hout Bay.
Dathini Mzayiya Artist. Founding member, Gugulective. Director, ASAI.
Mario Pissarra Art historian. PhD candidate, University of Cape Town. Director and staff member, ASAI
Maurice Mbikayi Artist.
Donald Parenzee Independent architect and poet.
Ayesha Price Artist and art educator. Director, ASAI.
Sonya Rademeyer Artist.
Lize van Robbroeck Art historian. Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts, University of Stellenbosch.
Donovan Ward Artist. Director, ASAI.
Ernestine White Artist. Curator, Iziko South African National Gallery.
Jill Williams (aka Jill Pillay) Cultural activist.
Scott Williams Artist and photographer. Member, Burning Museum. Staff member, ASAI.
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS (at this point this category comprises former members of ASAI who are no longer active in the organisation, but wish to remain associated with ASAI. Associate members are welcome to participate in meetings of membership, but are not required to attend)
Present members of staff (all part-time)
@ asai: finance administrator (2009-)
@ home: independent arts administrator
@ asai: researcher (2015-)
@ home: artist, founding member of the Burning Museum , curator, activist
@ asai: senior researcher and editor (2013-)
@ home: freelance researcher
@ asai: managing director (2008-)
@ home: PhD candidate
@ asai: assistant editor (2015-)
@ home: lecturer, architect, designer, activist
@ asai: project assistant (digital archives) (2014-)
@ home: artist and founding member of the Burning Museum
Past staff members
Vanessa Anaya (2013)
Jarrett Erasmus (2013-14)
Vivien Kohler (2010-11)
Carmen le Roux (2009)
Fiona Mauchan (2010-11)
Tony Mhayi (2010-11)
Jade Nair (2013)
Tambu Ndlovu (2011-12)
Loyiso Qanya (2013)
Ronnell Swartbooi (2010)
Nosipho Vinqishe (2010)
Ernestine White (2014)
Charne Willemse (2011)
Jill Williams (2010)
ASAI relies on donors for their support for its ongoing projects. Special thanks extend to the following organisations for their commitment to the Africa South Art Initiative :
ASAI is registered both with CIPRO as a Section 21 Company and as a Public Benefit Organisation with SARS. Registration number :2008/004687/08 l PBO
number: 930 027 865