Speeches & Statements

GATHERING STRANDS: Keynote address for opening of Lionel Davis retrospective exhibition, Iziko South African National Gallery, 21 June 2017

By Mario Pissarra 

(It is indeed a great honour to have been invited by Lionel Davis to open his retrospective exhibition. I wish to congratulate the curators, Tina Smith, Ayesha Price, Ernestine White and their team, as well as District Six Museum and Iziko Museums for this historic occasion, and for making the artist’s 81st birthday an unforgettable one, Happy Birthday Lionel!)

Many people know of Lionel Davis as a former District Six resident, and as a former political prisoner. Many will also be aware that he has a long history as an educator in the arts and heritage sector. Many too will know that he is an artist.

Lionel has often said that he has been fortunate to have not relied on his art for a living, as this has allowed him to pursue it on his own terms, unfettered by the commercial pressures that beset most professional artists.

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More or less ‘Co-existance’? Some thoughts on the Ir/relevance of the idea: opening remarks for the exhibition ‘Co-Existence part II – Manfred Zylla, Garth Erasmus and Antonin Mares’, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town, 28 July 2015.

This group exhibition, the press release reminds us, constitutes the second installment of a curatorial project established in 2014. The inaugural exhibit featured, again in the words of the press statement, ‘three artists from three continents’.

Now, I will begin by making what may seem to be a very disparaging set of remarks. As an idea for a group exhibition, ‘co-existence’ may be considered to be a pretty lame concept. It is lame, in the sense that it lends itself to a very passive approach to the world. It implies a disengaged acceptance, perhaps tolerance, of global diversity and difference. Now what is wrong with that, you may ask? The problem with ‘co-existence’, I would argue, is that we need more of a critical engagement with the world, not simply an acceptance of the way things are.

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Rasheed Araeen’s Letter to Third Text Editorial Board, Advisory Council & Supporters

6 December 2012

Dear members of the Editorial Board, Advisory Council, and the supporters of Third Text.

I must first thank you all for your tremendous support in this difficult time not only for me personally but, more importantly, for Third Text in its historical struggle to maintain the continuity of its pursuit for truth and its radical vision.

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Open Letter to the Trustees of Black Umbrella (Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, René Gimpel, Paul Goodwin, Joanna Mackle, Lord Bhikhu Parekh and Ziauddin Sardar)

5 December 2012

With this letter we announce our collective resignation from the Third Text Advisory Council.

With the full sadness of a long look back, we take our leave from a journal that has occupied a vital place in our critical lives and, for many of us, our artistic and intellectual formation. We do not leave gladly, but we are bound to accept that Third Text, under its current Trusteeship and editorial leadership, is no longer the journal we knew and loved.

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Trustees of Black Umbrella/Third Text Reply to Open Letter

August 2012

Trustees welcome your support for Third Text. We hope to allay your concerns through reaffirming that we have no intention of undermining the collective vision of Third Text and that our priority is to sustain its future. The Trustees are long supporters of both Rasheed Araeen and of the journal and have the highest regard for his achievements. Rasheed has not been ‘ousted’ from Third Text. Our decision that he should pursue his international role was made with full regard to Rasheed’s status as Founding Editor and to the current and long term needs of the journal and Black Umbrella Trust. The current dispute is perhaps a disproportionate response to a decision made with the best intentions for all concerned.

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Open Letter to Black Umbrella Board of Trustees, Taylor & Francis Group & Arts Council England

It is with growing alarm and concern that we, members of the Third Text Advisory Council and close supporters ofThird Text, have watched the Board of Trustees take unilateral actions that are hurtful to Founding Editor Rasheed Araeen and damaging to the shared artistic, intellectual and political vision of this journal.

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Second Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of Black Umbrella/Third Text from ASAI/Third Text Africa

As a matter of public interest and record

We acknowledge receipt of your response of 19 July to our open letter of 2 July 2012, and that it was marked ‘in confidence’, and that you have since distributed the letter more widely, although you have not yet made any public statement.

We trust that the counter allegations levelled at Rasheed Araeen are being communicated directly so that he can respond to them himself.

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