Over the years of growing the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival we have experienced a huge hole in our African digital arts ecosystem, essentially the lack of curators, producers and general advocators of digital arts in Africa, and specifically those from the continent. The field itself is not necessarily new, but the hurdles to accessing resources and markets brings a number of challenges for the African digital art ecosystem.
In our aim to develop curators, producers and advocates of African digital and technology arts. We ran an online Africa wide bootcamp for curating african digital art – 141 applications were received, 35 from across the continent were selected to attend the digital art curator bootcamp, countries included Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. 20 of whom chose to submit proposals to receive one of five exhibition commissions from the festival. 12 were shortlisted and 5 were granted commissions.
These short videos are interviews with the winning five as they develop their exhibitions for Fak’ugesi Festival, which will go live online on the 20th of October 2020.
Project Credits / Acknowledgements
Elisabeth Efua Sutherland (Ghana)
Xopher Wallace (South Africa)
Faye Kabali-Kagwa (Uganda, South Africa)
Pre-Empt Group: Phumulani Ntuli & Mbali Dhlamini (South Africa)
Nkhensani Mkhari (South Africa)
Funders and Acknowledgements:
Exhibition commissions are supported by: National Arts Council (South Africa);
Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (South Africa;
Gauteng Film Commission;
Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC;
and Arts Research Africa at Wits University.
Thank you to the work of our judges and or bootcamp speakers in their support and focus.
Elisabeth Efua Sutherland (GH)
Elisabeth Efua Sutherland works from a mixed background in cultural event programming, arts education, theatre & performance, as well as from a habit of experimentation in new media, visual arts, and digital technology. She is increasingly concerned with interactivity, video, sculpture and texture in making performance/performative objects. She is interested in the way culture can shape identity and development, and in the impact that active cultural curation can potentially have on individual and national attitudes.
Her current research interests around identity, and hyper-locality as a means of broad connection fuel her approach to creation and curation in the African physical and digital/virtual landscape. Efua is the founder of artist-led space Terra Alta, as well as the co-director and co-founder of the Accra Theatre Workshop.“
Xopher Wallace (ZA)
Xopher Wallace is a South African visual creative who expresses this creativity through fine art photography and augmented reality. With mixed reality as a key interest, he strives to link the real world and his imagination.
Faye Kabali-Kagwa (ZA/UG)
Faye Kabali-Kagwa describes herself as an arts coordinator and culture writer with a growing interest in curation. She is an interdisciplinary practitioner with a strong focus on identity, migration, accessibility, and public engagement.
In 2020 she began exploring WhatsApp as a medium for storytelling and debuted her first WhatsApp production, The Shopping Dead, at the virtual National Arts Festival 2020. In 2019 Faye was recognised as a Young Cultural Innovator by the Salzburg Global Seminar.
Pre-Empt Group (ZA)
Phumulani Ntuli holds a Masters in the Fine Arts- Arts Public Sphere from (ECAV) Ecole Cantonale D’Art du Valais in Sierre-Switzerland and was awarded Prix-excellence for his ongoing research project “Permutations of an event” centered around notions of archives and surveillance. Ntuli’s opus merges the ambit of artistic research, sculpture, video installations and performative practices. As an artist/ practitioner Ntuli has presented and/ or contributed work within the context of the LiveWorks V6 curated by Simone Frangi and Daniel Blanga Gubbay, 2016 Kampala Biennale in Uganda curated by Elise Atangana, the 2016 Bone Performance Festival in Bern Switzerland, curated by Valerian Maly and also performed in the 2016 Act Festival in Geneva, Basel, Sierre and Zurich.During the aforementioned year, Ntuli participated in residencies/ workshops at the Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy and the Alps Art Academy in Chur, Switzerland.
Mbali Dhlamini (b. Johannesburg, South Africa, 1990; MA University of the Witwatersrand, 2015) is a multidisciplinary artist and visual researcher. Dhlamini performs visual, tactile and discursive investigations into current indigenous cultural practices. With a view towards decolonized practices in contemporary culture, her work is in constant conversation with her past and present visual landscapes. Working to maintain a state of unlearning and relearning, Dhlamini’s process recognizes language as a medium of understanding and as a repository of knowledge. Dhlamini is a dynamic and energetic practitioner who exists across roles within the arts sector – from producing her own work to facilitating self-sustaining artist collectives, exhibitions and other art-centered gatherings
Themba Benedict Khumalo was born on the 16 February 1987 in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Khumalo graduated from Artist Proof Studio in printmaking, where he obtained a Design Foundation Certificate. He went on to do a professional printmaking development course under the sponsorship of Pinpoint One, at Artist Proof Studio in 2009 where he was an intern in the silkscreen unit and special project team. Khumalo is interested in exploring different mediums, such as printmaking, charcoal drawings and painting. He has been involved in a number of group exhibitions, commissions and special projects, such as painting murals in the Eastern Cape and being invited to exhibit in a group show at Isolate del Cinema festival in Rome, Italy.
Nkhensani Mkhari (ZA)
Nkhensani Mkhari (b.1994) is a Johannesburg based multidisciplinary artist and curator at BKhz gallery. Their broad praxis spans from visual arts, performance art, installation, publishing, sound design and new media. Their artworks function as multimodal material-semiotic metaphors.
Their keen interest in the intersections between art and technology led them to their first residency with Fak’ugesi digital innovation festival for their 2018 group exhibition curated by Dr. Tegan Bristow, with Brian House and Marc Lee as their mentors. The residency culminated in an installation exploring themes of their ongoing body of work titled image of transgression exploring human spatial evolution and the cultural repercussions of that change. In 2019 their VR work titled ‘Coronation of a Holographic Rainbow’ was shortlisted for the ZKM and Solitude web residency Call no.6 curated by Mary Maggic. The project explored how ritual ceremonies may be archived using Virtual Reality and Augmented reality. In January 2020 they had their first pop up exhibition ‘Uhm Yeah’ in Paris with Le Ge’enie d’Alex. They continue to expand in their praxis, synthesizing mediums to evoke new passages of materiality to expand public consciousness.