Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Susanne Wenger: In Memoriam

Hurry as you go
mother of many children and
dreamer of palaces for gods
deafened by sirens
of triumphal armies

Do not look back
Priestess of Obatala and
confidant of cool groves
menaced by hounds
of mercenary hunters

Enter, gnarled spirit
Esu waits at the Gate

(For Susanne Wenger, the Adunni Olorisa; artist, designer, architect, priestess, aged 94)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Yes, I am still giddy about the election of Barack Obama two months ago, and yes, I know he won't be the president of the United States until January 20 (waiting for this date feels like forever). But I cannot understand; I am even frustrated that he has not made any statement about the carnage in Gaza. How many human beings and how much blood will it take for him to say something, even if to express shock at the number of Palestinian children and women being slaughtered "legitimately" by the Israeli Government, in the name of fighting terror.

The killing of hundreds of civilians is INDEFENSIBLE! And I cannot see how this is going to guarantee peace and security in the middle east, and in our world.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ghana's Next President!

Congratulations to John Atta Mills, the opposition candidate, and winner of the run-off presidential election in Ghana. The people of Ghana have continued to make Africa proud by successfully managing two peaceful presidential polls and tenures. No wonder why it is increasingly becoming the beacon of hope, and the place to go in West Africa. So what, if I may ask, is the Ghanaian contemporary art sector waiting for?!

Johannesburg Art Fair 2009

Following the remarkable success of last year's event, the next Johannesburg Art Fair
will take place in April 3-5, with more exciting programming and hopefully more gallery participation. Presently the event will feature 25 galleries, 8 special projects and 33 artist-talks. Among the 8 projects, I am particularly curious, that is to say highly enthusiastic, about the "Featured Artist" project for which Jane Alexander--to my mind one of the most powerful figurative sculptors working today--will present her installation piece, Security; of equal interest should be the show of film works by artists from the "Global South," organized by my friend Tumelo Mosaka of the Brooklyn Museum.

With the demise of that City's Biennale, and the muted outcome of Cape Town's ambitious project, two years ago, I find myself wishing and praying for the continuing success of the Art Fair. Yes, fairs are a different beast from biennales, but they have come to increasingly represent an equally important part of the contemporary artworld, especially following the runaway success of Basel, Frieze and others. So, for the continent, it seems that Joburg Art Fair would be a good complement to the slow-moving, yet thankfully insistent Dakar Biennale and the Cairo Biennale, which I think is in dire need of an extreme makeover.