After attending the Stellenbosch Triennale press preview, I couldn’t wait to write about the event and even more so, the Chief Curator, Khanyisile Mbongwa. What an inspirational woman! Not only because she has done such a tremendous job curating this incredible art fair, but because she was standing there as the mother of a two-week-old baby and she still had the strength and grit to put together an event of this scale.
Her message of healing through artistic discourse is inspirational. And since the Triennale just kicked off, I thought I’d share some info to inspire you to visit the different exhibitions in Stellenbosch. It’s really so worth it!
The Stellenbosch Triennale
Brainchild of the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust, the Stellenbosch Triennale runs until 30 April and presents a wonderful collection of contemporary African art. This year’s theme, Tomorrow There Will Be More of Us, was conceived by Chief Curator and Artistic Director Khanyisile Mbongwa and runs as a thread throughout the seven multidisciplinary platforms.
The Triennale features 20 artists from different countries across our continent, including wonderful female artists, such as Bronwyn Katz and Donna Kukama from South Africa, Hellen Nabukenya and Stacey Gillian Abe from Uganda and Tracey Thompson from Ghana. Supporting the arts and especially women artists is so important, so its wonderful to see this curation give African female artists the platform to exhibit their work.
For the kids
Besides the exhibitions that are taking place in various venues across town, the art festival also provides a unique learning opportunity through The Imaginarium – a unique online platform that brings the Triennale to life in a different way. The carefully engineered platform is a free online discovery and learning resource centre for all ages.
This exciting experience can be accessed through the Triennale’s website and has been designed to stimulate the imagination, while supporting 21st century learning skills. According to Stellenbosch Triennale Project Director Andi Norton, “Curiosity, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Compassion, Composure, Citizenship and Culture will be explored through activities, worksheets, case studies and multi-media digital content” on the platform.
I love the fact that The Imaginarium makes learning creative, colourful and fun and makes the art world accessible to anyone and everyone. Teachers from across Africa can get ideas for their classroom and parents and kids can get their creative juices flowing at home. It really brings art into the hearts and homes of people who wouldn’t always have access. The platform also offers an enhanced guided tour of the Triennale itself.
For the love of art
My suggestion would be, if you’re living in and around Stellenbosch, to pop into one or two venues over the weekend to really take in the artworks. And visit again and again to see some other works each time. The beauty of the Triennale is that its running for an extended period of time, so you can take it all in at your leisure. Otherwise, make a weekend of it and visit as many galleries as you can in one go. Either way, make sure you don’t miss this initiative. It brings art of a global standard to our doorstep. And, it’ll only happen again in three years!
For more information,visit www.stellenboschtriennale.com or follow Stellenbosch Triennale on Twitter @stbtriennale, Instagram @stellenboschtriennale and Facebook www.facebook.com/StellenboschTriennale/