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Launch of new gallery and SARChI Arts Lounge

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Arts of Africa and Global Souths research team
Arts of Africa and Global Souths research team

The new Arts of Africa and Global Souths Arts Lounge and RAW Spot Gallery opened on 13 June 2018 at Rhodes University.

The SARChI chair programme was established at Rhodes by Professor Ruth Simbao in January 2016, and focuses on re-situating the discourse of the arts of Africa in the global south. It aims to strengthen the role of Africa-based artists and scholars in this creation of knowledge through postgraduate training, a publishing support network, publishing workshops, a residency programme for artists and writers, and participation in a publishing consortium.

Converted from a triple garage, the RAW Spot Gallery functions as a studio and gallery space for the RAW (Residencies for Artists and Writers) programme. RAW was first established by Simbao in 2014, and has been supported by the Mellon supra-national programme, Publishing and Research of the South: Positioning Africa (PROSPA), since 2017.

The innaugural exhibition of the RAW Spot Gallery was “Return” by Professor Adepeju Layiwola from the University of Lagos in Nigeria. Layiwola, an artist and scholar known internationally for her work on restitution, spent two months at Rhodes University as an artist in residence. She worked closely with Dr Patrick Oloko, a writer in residence, who will be publishing on Layiwola’s work.

Honouring Rhodes University’s Distinguished Professor Tebello Nyokong, Layiwola represented the world-renowned researcher in a four-panel artwork titled, “Dialoguing Sarahs”.

MFA student, Wallen Mapondera, produced a chalk drawing in the foyer of the research space. During the National Arts Festival this space will be activated as Arts Lounge Africa, a platform for live art, artists’ conversations and video art screenings.