DATE | Saturday, 22 October 2022
TIME | 12:00 noon
VENUE | Stokvel Gallery, 27 Boxes, 4th Avenue, Melville
SPEAKER | Mokena Makeka, Adjunct Professor at Cooper Union and Principal at Dalberg
Panya Routes, published by Motto Books, is about the do-it-yourself, do-it-together working principles of independent art spaces on the continent. The title refers to back roads or pathways collectively fashioned as escape routes or pragmatic workarounds, thoroughfares for more nimble travellers. It speaks to the self-assembly of spaces built for purpose not profit, collectively run and often artist-led or infused with artistic thinking. Creating their own infrastructures, such spaces offer breathing room and act as urban indicators in fast-changing cities of flux, Gurney posits, and positions their alternative modes of institution-building as a form of artistic practice.
Stokvel Gallery is a prime example and in fact features in the book as emblematic of the collective structures (‘merry-go-rounds’) that artists fashion when faced with prevailing uncertainty, and was a trigger for its research. Panya Routes spans Nairobi (GoDown Arts Centre), Accra (ANO Institute), Cairo (Townhouse), Addis Ababa (Zoma Museum) and Dar es Salaam (Nafasi Art Space). It makes correlations between artistic practices in these shapeshifting spaces, and everyday know-how circulating in public life to surface working principles that are shared. Art is not only for saying things; it can sometimes do things and institute social imaginaries that exceed the status quo, as Gurney’s book attests.
At this launch event, Mokena Makeka will give a reflection on the dynamic relationship between contemporary art, art practices and space, and the African city. Artist, curator and lecturer Gordon Froud will introduce his creation – the host venue. Kim Gurney will link the speakers with brief reference to Panya Routes.