New Dynamics of Public Engagement

How does one bring the outside into the inside? How does one bring in people to visit a gallery or museum space – more so, how does a gallery space in a university engage with people in the city besides the university staff and students?

Art has always been an important tool to express a critical attitude to the dominant forces shaping reality and it is too extensive to be represented in the limited spaces of galleries and museums. The art world is changing and it’s becoming increasingly important to question the role of the gallery and curator in relation to society.

These were some of the questions I was looking to answer when I invited The Burning Museum Art Collective to engage with the Centre for African Studies gallery space. The Burning Museum Collective is a group of young incredible artists whose work and expression stood out for me. Far more than commercial gallery exhibits, they tell their stories in different hidden spaces in parts of the city that rarely see the extension of creative expression.

Today, a gallery must draw from a framework of knowledge that’s circulating in society. By inviting this collective of young artists, I hope to incorporate the increasingly dynamic horizontal forms of knowledge production that one can witness in some of the public spaces of Cape Town.

It’s been most exciting to allow the gallery to be taken over and turned into something that it usually isn’t. By doing this I am hoping that it is seen not only as a space to represent the world but also be open to its influences and work with an awareness of the reality surrounding it.

I hope this will allow a two-way flow of audience – from the outside into the university and the university to the streets of Salt River and Woodstock to engage further with these works.

Event type: Exhibition