Exchange of Interest
Beyond market frenzies and trend analyses
with the Global South
A deterritorialising concept, discarding taught colonial divisions, the Global South can be thought of as an imagined space of resistance where contemporary capitalism and colonial severances are addressed while cultural connections are acknowledged and reestablished. In this week’s Of Interest we consider the impact of such connections in ways that extend beyond market trend-focused readings.
An external drive, the Indian and Atlantic oceans hold memories of indentured labour, migration, colonialism, and capitalism for many of us. They call us the Global South, a people collectively defying spatial limitations, whether borders or oceans, to create, imagine, invent, maintain and revive our sufficiency and agency. A practice where new modes of knowledge production are created, shared and learned, in contemporary art the Global South has taken on the form of numerous exchanges between artists, galleries and associated institutions.
At Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, art historians and curators Natasha Gunwale, Bonaventure Soh Beijing Ndikung and Michelangelo Corsaro approached the group exhibition Indigo Waves & Other Stories from a perspective informed by their collective interest in the politics of water.
In Johannesburg, at the Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation, the exhibition Kahlo, Sher-Gil, Stern: Modernist Identities in the Global South highlighted the likeness between three prolific modernist artists, respectively based in Pakistan, Mexico and South Africa. Held by the School of the South lecture series, the exhibition fostered engagement amongst contemporary practitioners.
For Kiang Malingue and Stevenson, the cross-continental conversation began when the organising committee of the International Galleries Alliance brought Joost Bosland and Lorraine Kiang from the respective galleries together. Realising their shared interest in expanding engagement beyond digital offerings and international fairs, the galleries offered each other new networks by positioning their artists in new physical spaces.
Then, toward the end of March 2023, Guns & Rain presented Tuli Mekondjo and Bev Buckow’s work at Art Central Hong Kong.
Read together, these seemingly trend-based responses offer an opportunity to collectively search for resolve. So even though the regions’ kinship may begin in trauma, the Global South art ecosystem offers an alternative. It’s the theatrics and textured surfaces in Mawande Ka Zenzile’s work being in conversation with Wang Zhibo’s paintings. It’s the way Tao Hui and Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi draw from personal memories, historical archives and popular culture to navigate their place in post-colonial and now globalised worlds.
Maybe this is what Joël Andrianomearisoa imagined while making his atrium-specific commission, The Five Continents of All Our Desires, for Zeitz MOCAA. Celebrating relations and connections, the large scale black silk paper sculptures come together to form an archipelago of ambigous, new territories, floating above the museum’s atrium.
A support group and a forum to be seen and celebrated, exchanges aren’t a site to platform pain. Although they address wounds, the potential to realign beyond state lines is ripe.