ASAI, 18 March 2008
From its modest inception as a website a little over two years ago, the Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI) has emerged as a bona-fide organisation with a mission to develop critical resources on art in Africa.
The ‘early’ ASAI was a private initiative. However, the project always contained a collaborative element, and it was envisaged that ASAI would grow into a ‘proper’ organisation. That time has come. On the 21st February 2008 ASAI was registered as a Section 21 Company.
ASAI first entered the public domain as a website in November 2005. From inception ASAI was expressly concerned with contributing to the growing discourse in contemporary African art. A key part was the development of accessible resources, and the creation of a platform for debate. The website gave expression to these aims, particularly through generating resources for artists, and facilitating debates on relevant issues. Beyond cyberspace two discursive exhibitions, namely ReCenter and africa south, created opportunities for artists to engage with critical issues through their works.
Support for ASAI is widespread. This is evident in contributions to the ASAI website (notably the ASAI Forum), as well as monthly statistics which reveal that visitors come from over 80 countries, with the site attracting around 450 visits a day. In February 2008 our website registered over 100,000 hits.
ASAI’s founding documents articulate its Main Object as: “Promoting and supporting the development of a critical discourse on the visual arts in Africa”. This includes “Developing accessible resources on modern and contemporary African art [and] Promoting dialogue between artists and associated professionals, particularly in African countries.” Ancillary objectives include “Creating a platform for artists to exhibit and market their work.”
ASAI’s founding membership comprises artists, art historians, art educators, curators as well as individuals with experience in organisational development and financial management. The chairperson of our Board of Directors is artist Garth Erasmus. ASAI’s original founder, Mario Pissarra, has been appointed managing director.
International support for the project is also evident in that Rasheed Araeen, Prof. Chabani Manganyi, Barbara Murray, Prof. Nkiru Nzegwu, Prof. Sylvester Ogbechie, Prof. Uche Okeke and Steven Sack accepted invitations to become honorary patrons of ASAI. The willingness to be associated with ASAI shown by this diverse grouping of eminent persons serves not only as a vote of confidence but also to signal the high standards that ASAI aspires to.
That ASAI is emerging as ‘more than a website’ is also evident in that we are project managing Visual Century: South African art in context, 1907-2007, a research initiative directed by artist and curator Gavin Jantjes.
Another recent development concerns our relocation to the Department of Historical Studies, UCT, where we share an office with the Visual Century project.
ASAI will shortly be registered as a public benefit organisation.
congratulations from Jill
jill trappler, 21 March 2008
From here on, there is no looking back. Every giant oak began as an acorn!
gavin Jantjes, 22 March 2008
Congratulations! from Wandile Kasibe
Wandile Kasibe, 07 April 2008
Well Done. Hang in there.
Bisi, 28 April 2008