Monday, August 16, 2010

‘Dialogue among Civilisation’ Exhibition news

By Angelica Mannie

Part of the curatorial concept,
an installation by
Artist Mondli Mdanda
After much planning and conceptualizing the opening exhibition of “Dialogue Among Civilization” , a project under the patronage of UNESCO was held on 21st March 2010 at the Durban Art Gallery, Durban Mayor, Obed Mlaba, welcomed delegates, artists, poets, and dignitaries and Justice Albie Sachs warmly addressed the audience before opening the exhibition, Sachs proudly exclaimed that “Reconciling a nation, creating a new South Africa, discovering your pride , integrity and creativity, lies at the heart of the exhibition of “Dialogue Among Civilisation”. Dieter Zettler who is the chairperson of the committee in the partnership between Durban and Bremen sister cities, warmly addressed the crowd and applauded the impressive art and poetry. He congratulated AFH on yet another successful project. Ms. Iratxe Momoitio Astorkia, Director of the Guernica Peace Museum in Spain, presented Professor Nqabomzi Gawe, Vice Chancellor of DUT, with the Guernica Peace Museum award for the DUT’s continuous efforts in promoting Human Rights and peace among all its stake holders. The award contained a leaf plate which symbolises the oak tree from where the earliest elected Basque representatives gathered. Prof Gawe thanked AFH for being persistent in their endeavour in continuing the work in advocating Human rights and Social justice through the arts and thanked Mrs. Astorkia for her ongoing interest and support for AFH and its work. Jan Jordaan, Director of AFH, explained that ‘Dialogue among Civilisations’ involved collaboration between artists and

People viewing the Exhibition.
Iratxe Momoitio Astorkia presents the “Oak Leaf” to Prof Nqabomzi Gawe
poets representing 35 countries including those that who participated in the 2006 Soccer World Cup as well as six of the Durban Sister Cities. The participants created work on the theme of identity, land, object and belief. The exhibition aimed to elicit and challenge the South African public’s views on xenophobia, racism and refugees. He further mentioned that the art and poetry will be displayed on billboards in communities and on banners in schools around South Africa in order to inspire South Africans with the ethical values associated with art and poetry.

Jenny Stretton acknowledged the sponsors involved in making the exhibition possible during her vote of thanks and also paid tribute to everyone that “lent e a helping hand”. It is hoped that these two events, will not only contribute towards a positive cultural climate for visitors to South Africa attending the Soccer World Cup but also visibly re-establish South Africa as a leader in the promotion of human rights and social justice on the continent. Pertinent to this great event on African soil and in a time when South Africans are experiencing problematic xenophobic attitudes towards foreigners as well as battling with incidents of racism within the South African society, this particular period when an influx of international delegates and tourists will be present in our country, AFH hopes that the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ will be rekindled and taken back to other countries.

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