African Paradox Anthologies Statement

by Joe Madisia

This statement appears in the book African Paradox: Experienced in Namibia, an anthology of linocut prints and poems that pay tribute to the late John Muafangejo and the late Peter Clarke.

This anthology of black and white linocut prints and poetic-rhymes are created from an artist’s perspective and comprise of 11 works. These works excavate the deeper symbolism and meaning of the artwork, and reflect on issues to do with ownership, possession, abundance, greed, money… you name it. Some poems also throw light on theology, ethics, economics and biblical studies, and they seek to explore how African people find value in having things. It is also about how having things in turn gives value to life in communities and society, including the grassroots as a whole.

Read More

Madi Phala: what place in ‘our’ art history?

by Mario Pissarra, 7 November 2007

This was written for the opening of ‘Madi Phala: A Tribute Exhibition’ at the AVA, 10-28 September 2007, and was originally published on Phala’s page on asai.co.za

I am honoured and pleased to have this opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts on Madi Phala, particularly on his contribution as an artist to our art history.

Read More

Some thoughts on Peter Clarke [1]

by Mario Pissarra

This text was originally published on Clarke’s page on asai.co.za, 17 April 2014

Peter Clarke was, indeed is, a giant. Evidence of his achievements is (and will continue to be) narrated in numerous tributes, obituaries and testimonies. Evidence of his legacy as a mentor, across many generations, will increasingly become apparent.

Read More

Affirmations of humanity: Sfiso Ka-Mkame’s dialogues with himself

by Mario Pissarra

Unpublished text for opening speech at opening of Sfiso Ka-Mkame’s ‘Dialogues with myself’ solo exhibition at the African Art Centre, Durban, 2016. It was originally published on Ka-Mkame’s page on asai.co.za in 2016.

I wish to thank the artist and the African Art Centre for inviting me to open this exhibition. I am indeed honoured to have this opportunity to share some thoughts about Sfiso ka-Mkame, an artist who I hold in high esteem.

Read More

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

Mario Pissarra, 22 June 2017

(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!)

Read More

More or less ‘Co-existence’? 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.

Mario Pissarra, 15 August 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.

Read More

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

Third Text Advisory Council Members, 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.

Read More

Trustees of Black Umbrella/Third Text Reply to Open Letter

Trustees of Black Umbrella, 30 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.

Read More

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

Third Text Advisory Council Members, Third Text Associates & Third Text Contributors and Supporters, 13 August 2012

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.

Read More

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

Mario Pissarra & Lize van Robbroeck, 10 August 2012

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.

Read More

Members of Third Text Editorial Board Resign & Call for Independent Review of Journal

Third Text Editorial Board, 8 August 2012

Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of Third Text from members of the Editorial Board

The Editorial Board wishes to make public its position, as set out in letters sent to the Board of Trustees since Rasheed was removed from the day to day running of Third Text in the summer of  2011 (see below 24/11/2011 & 8/3/2012). These letters express our concerns over the situation.

Read More

Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of Black Umbrella Concerning the Dismissal of Rasheed Araeen

Mario Pissarra & Lize van Robbroeck, 2 June 2012

Open letter to the Board of Trustees of Black Umbrella, concerning the dismissal of Rasheed Araeen as executive director, and the consequences of this action for the future of Third Text, as well as for Third Text Africa.

On the 25th June 2012 Rasheed Araeen, founding editor of Third Text, sent an email to a number of persons associated with Third Text. The letter detailed his dismissal as executive director of Black Umbrella, the non-profit organisation founded by Araeen which established Third Text as its flagship project.

Read More

Why Post- Apartheid UCT Needs the Centre for African Studies

Concerned CAS Students, 15 March 2011

As Concerned CAS Students and CAS supporters we respond here to the Faculty Forum held on Friday 25 February 2011. We reiterate and explain our opposition to any closure, disestablishment or downgrading of the University of Cape Town’s Centre for African Studies (CAS) either as an interim measure, or as the first step in a two-stage process towards establishing a new Centre.

Read More

Does Post-Apartheid UCT Need a Centre for African Studies?

Concerned CAS Students, 14 February 2011

As students and indeed clients of the University of Cape Town (UCT), we have chosen UCT for its reputation as a world-class African university.  Prior to and during our time at this world-class institution of higher learning, we invest our time, energy, financial resources and intellect, not only to our own work and careers, but to enriching the faculties, departments, clubs and organisations to which we belong. Of course, this is how educational institutions function, which is why were are baffled, appalled, angered, enraged and deeply disappointed by the university’s administrative decision to disestablish the Centre for African Studies without our input or consultation.

Read More

Gender DynamiX Speaks Out Against Xingwana’s Bigotry

Gender DynamiX, 10 March 2010

Gender DynamiX is deeply concerned about the policing of bodies by the State.  A very large part of our work is centred on examining the practices of the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and their unethical activities towards Transgender people.  We are now faced with the question whether this is becoming a government trend.

Read More

Statement on the Violence Against Foreign Nationals

Artists for Africa, 28 May 2008

If art were to mirror our society right now, it would reflect the rainbow as a tattered farce, the African Renaissance as a bad stand-up comedy routine, the notion of ubuntu as a horror movie, and our much-admired constitution as a satire on what we have become.

Given where we have come from, with Madiba’s inaugural “never again” speech still ringing in our ears, and with the dream that we would be a beacon of humanity, dignity and tolerance, there can be little excuse for the sheer brutality in the violence wreaked against foreign nationals in the last few weeks.

Read More

ASAI Enters a New Phase

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.

Read More