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You are here » Artlink » Issues Index » The South Issue: New Horizons

The South Issue: New Horizons

Beyond the well-trodden Northern Hemisphere centres, Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in South Africa, Chile, the Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore and Australia establish an idea of South which goes beyond geography, extending old boundaries and ideas through dialogue, collaboration and exchange. Issues of curating outside the mainstream mingle with audacious new works which bring the viewer into unfamiliar territory. Editor Stephanie Radok travelled to Santiago in Chile to join the third South Gathering of the ground-breaking South Project organised by Craft Victoria in Melbourne.

Topic list: censorship, community, cultural policy, dissent, globalism, identity, indigenous culture, migration, nationalism, politics, reconciliation, regionalism, survival, traditional culture.

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Articles in vol 27 no 2, 2007

CADA: art and life: Chile
Feature by Fernando Balcells

In the wasteland of Chile, post- Military Coup of 1973, the Coectivo Acciones de Arte (CADA) arose in 1979, formed by the sociologist Fernando Balcells, the writer Diamela Eltit, the poet Raul Zurita and the visual artists Lotty Rosenfeld and Juan Castillo. The role of CADA was forged via a necessity for theoretical and practical renovation of the national artistic undertaking and the urgency to reset this task towards the fusion of art and life. This article follows the various movements of CADA, often formed on the basis of public protest and artistic dissemination and considered to be 'social sculpture' which referred to art as a proposal for the social construction of reality. CADA's work attracted and affected many people and became a great challenge of collective creation. — More »

Cape 07
Feature by Thembinkosi Goniwe

Cape 07 was a large-scale contemporary African art event which took place in various locations across Cape Town, South Africa this year. Cape 07's main exhibition the 'Lions of Contemporary African Art' featured the works of 45 African artists. The entire event was conceived as an attempt to establish creative dialogue between different artists and regions involved. This article briefly discusses some of the many venues and artists showcased as part of an event which was ultimately an edited version of the cancelled Trans Cape biennale. Cape 07 was curated by Gabi Ngcobo with Jonathan Garnham as project manager. — More »

Defining Features: Africa
Feature by Cobi Labuscagne

Cobi Labuscagne attempts to define some of the current definitions of self in Africa's effort to introduce its answers to the world. Labuscagne sets up two important benchmarks for examination in this text. The first being a framework within which Jonathan Jones of the recent international exhibition Africa Remix sets up some definitions of 'Africa', 'art' and 'contemporary', which Labuscagne sees as largely problematic and in need of renegotiation. The second benchmark is based on a volume of essays by Johannesburg-based cultural critic and academic Sarah Nuttal, which look at conduits of beauty and ugliness and the continual interaction with art and aesthetics. — More »

From an Island South: Tasmania to Pakistan
Feature by Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly reflects on the experience and the complexity of taking an exhibition initiated by Asialink called From an Island South of landscape work by Tasmanian artists, Bea Maddock, Richard Wastell, Julie Gough, David Stephenson, David Keeling, Philip Wolfhagen and Jonathan Kimberley with Jim Everett curated by Jane Stewart of the Devonport Gallery to Lahore in Pakistan. He found that the political side of the Tasmanian art and its use of traditional approaches to art combined with critical content had similarities with some art produced in Pakistan. He refers to the 2003-4 landmark show of contemporary Pakistan art seen in Playing with a loaded gun curated by Atteqa Ali. — More »

Galeria Metropolitana
Feature by Luis Alarcon Ana Marie Saaverdra

Galeria Metropolitana is an independent and self-sustaining art space, allocated at a working class and semi-peripheral commune in the Southwest side of Santiago of Chile. Working primarily from a domestic space, the curatorial, production and management tasks carried out entail a radical challenge between art space managers, artists and neighbours or organisations. Galeria Metropolitana has become a kind of local 'institution of the alternative' and as a gallery project is considered unfinished, a permanent work in progress. The gallery is described as a self-reflexive space, not to be separated from its context, and works with art history (local-international), neighbourhood history and city history as its key concepts. — More »

Gatekeeping Africa Full article available
Feature by Sharlene Khan

Sharlene Khan sets up a discourse for looking at 'contemporary' African art, in particular from a curatorial perspective, seeking to challenge the role of Western curators taking on the job of selecting African works and taking them to the world stage. This is a comparative text calling upon Edward Said''s idea of the intellectual and curators to seriously consider the implications of their role as intellectuals in contemporary culture. This article has been structured in a way that considers 'representation and responsibility' and moves on to discuss 'accountability'. Major factors which are examined are the problems with contemporary/craft representations in taking African art to western audiences as well as issues surrounding race, education, ethnicity and questions the morality of such curatorial procedures. — More »

Identity in Maldivian Art
Feature by Mamduh Waheed

Mamduh Waheed discusses the current state of the arts in the Maldives, a country for which the word 'art' has no formal existence. Despite this fact, there is plenty of art to speak of. The opening of the countries National Art Gallery in 2005 saw the exhibition Maldives Contemporary 2005 which included a display of local and international art. Subsequent to this was the establishment of a National Centre for the Arts, which focused primarily on the facilitating of academic and technical education in the arts and crafts. This article also looks at the role of tourism and trade as avenues for art and discusses the role of a group of younger local artists Waheed has here termed 'the New Contemporaries'. — More »

Indigenous Initiatives: PNG and South Australia
Feature by Carolyn Wilson

These two short pieces look at two Indigenous artistic collectives in Papua New Guinea and South Australia. The Omie people of the Oro Province in PNG and artists from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote South Australia and the events which have taken place to showcase their unique creations to the wider communities are briefly didcussed. Please visit and for more information. — More »

Indomite: a Chilean artist in Central Australia
Feature by Leonardo Ortega

"I have always felt a deep fascination during the contemplation of what we call 'nature', it's circular logic, its monumentality, its disorderly perfection" - Ortega Through this text Leonardo Ortega documents his travels through the Australian desert – where he lived out his curiosities about the Aboriginies who inhabit the lands, with their political and social situation becoming the central subject for his video-installation 'INDOMITE' exhibited in Melbourne in 2006. This project continues on from Ortega's previous artwork 'The Ralco Model' exhibited at Galeria Metropolitana, Santiago. As Oretega explains of the intention of these works and his practice at large – "I try to document diverse human subjectivities in a world that tends to homogenise those experiences. I try to rescue difference in a time when equality has stopped being a real humanistic value". — More »

James Geurts: 90 degrees equatorial
Feature by Ian Hamilton

James Guert's recent show at the Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide is described through this article to have induced an almost trance-like state – from the arrangement of the four square light boxes, depicting scenes from four 'sites of interception' to the four large digital projections humming with visual and auditory stimuli. The focus of this text is on Guert's remarkable journey to the four corners of the globe. The corners are literally represented by smallish triangle objects of inner lit plastic photographed and composed to construct a full form of the globe. The way they are presented, as foreign objects in the landscape, raise questions about the way the 'west' relates to the wider world. In the particular settings Guerts has used, all being sites on or near the sea, the corners are impositions, objects at odds with the surrounding environments. This is enforced as a reminder about the extent that the West continues to impose its will on even the most remote communities. — More »

Jim Allen: Now
Feature by Christina Barton

"Being ourselves part of Oceania and enjoying a close and somewhat unique physical relationship with the natural environment I think we are especially receptive to an artform which makes use of simple tactile media; paper, stones, gravel, sand, cloth and water, employed with such finite sensibility and sophistication" – Jim Allen. To date, Jim Allen's contribution to the history of art in New Zealand has been discussed in terms of his achievements as a teacher, organiser and advocate for new dematerialised modes of practice. Recently Allen is being recognised for his role as the prime artistic mover behind the emergence of new – multi-media, time-based, site-specific, performative, and installation – modes of sculpture during the 1970's. Allen's practice as an artist and his efforts as an arts organiser also helped prepare the ground for New Zealand's growing involvement in the international arts arena. This article acts as a homage to one of the great figures in contemporary art, discussing key works such as 'Poetry for Chainsaws' (1976) and 'O-AR Part 1' which are currently being re-staged/re-installed as part of a mini-survey show in Auckland. — More »

Juan Davila: Queering the South
Feature by Paul Allatson

Juan Davila's recent retrospectives, held in Sydney and Melbourne, affirmed the astonishing array of historical, political, artistic, and cultural references populating his oeuvre since his move from Chile to Australia in 1974. As Davila explains: "The circumstance of living in two extremes of the world, in two peripheral cultures, slowly forced me to look at the materiality of the circumstances where artworks operate". This text examines the work of Davila as being, in libidinal and critical measure, queer, and the extent to which this provides a signifying key to the artist's TransPacific vision. The term 'queer' is not merely called upon as one bound by its sexual connotations but as one used to describe a generalised sense of 'deviation from normalcy', within which Davila's work is here positioned. Specific works examined are: 'The Arse End of the World', 'Fable of Australian Painting', 'Retablo' and 'Our Own Death' amongst other key pieces. — More »

Matthew Ngui: public artist
Feature by Ted Snell

Matthew Ngui is a Singaporean born, Australian artist who makes intriguing and engaging public artworks that embrace the history of a given site. Ngui is fascinated by the ways in which we interact with artworks and the individual nuances and understandings each person brings to the encounter. Ngui describes his work as 'often loose, and multifarious, sometimes tenuous and always fragile'. Scale and ambition are other easily identifiable elements in Ngui's practice, whether it be transforming a cityscape with lights or covering a Swiss Village in an avalanche of 350,000 bouncing balls, each emitting a light and a whispered message. — More »

Pat Hoffie: Cultural Servitude
Feature by Sally Butler

This article looks at the work of Brisbane-based artist Pat Hoffie and the way she flirts with acceptability in her quasi-ironic method of cultural exploitation. In her art the inevitability of cultural servitude to capital flowers into something more complex and generative, and demonstrates how the local can make its mark on global frameworks. Hoffie's technique shows a layering of activity within the field of contemporary art, broadening into a complex visual concept of cross-cultural dynamics. Her artworks include material that signifies its history of cultural exploitation and commercialisation. Artworks directly referenced here include: 'No such thing as a level playing field', 'Blackbirding Series', 'Avatars (The Committee)' and 'Madame Illuminate Crack's Pictorial Guide to the Universe'. — More »

Selling Emily: confessions of a white advisor
Feature by Philip Batty

In this article Philip Batty, a former art teacher at the Aboriginal community of Papunya – offers some personal reflections on his involvements with the rise to fame of indigenous artist Emily Kngwarreye and other indigenous pieces and attempts to make sense of them. Batty discusses some of the problems associated with viewing these traditional works within the Western framework of modern art. He proceeds to offer some speculative answers as to how various political, economic, historical and aesthetic conventions transformed Aboriginal religious business into 'art'. Batty uses the work of Emily Kngwarreye to exemplify how indigenous works can become merely a mirror image of European desires. — More »

Subject Matters: South Africa
Feature by Stina Edblom

In recent years the growing intellectual input of young art practitioners, supported by Africans in the diaspora, is successfully managing to extend and complicate South African critical art discourse. It is here contested that artists across the 'non-white' spectrum are reclaiming a notion of 'blackness' as a political discourse to deconstruct and reject a normative white gaze that has not yet fully come to terms with its colonial and apartheid past. Since the birth of South African democracy in 1994, a whole range of art exhibitions and research projects have been mounted in public arenas, which reflect on these ideas. This article examines this with direct reference to the works of Frantz Fanon, Thembinkosi Goniwe, Gabi Ngcobo, Stuart Hall, Thando Mama, Liese van der Watt and others. — More »

The South South Way Full article available
Feature by Kevin Murray

How does the south appear to itself and how might south appear on the southern stage? The sweep of the south is broad and there are many ways to cross it. Kevin Murray considers the role of nature as a host of shared references for people and cultures of the southern hemisphere as well as ideas concerning indigenous and diasporic solidarity. Murray makes the point that it is on the political stage where the south seems particularly vocal, especially in relation to economic relations between north and south. The flow of traffic between north and south is also discussed, taking into consideration the infiltrating of modernism into Australia via its northern source and the shifting patterns in positioning the 'exotic gaze' that is normally directed south. Murray concludes that, at this stage, the south remains a rare platform that welcomes both indigenous and non-indigenous, both tribes and individuals. — More »

The Video Archive, Chile
Feature by Isabel Garcia

The Video Archive project at the new Centro de Documentacion de las Artes is located on the once bombarded Chilean presidential palace grounds. The aim of the archive is to recover the history of the 'video arts' in Chile via the establishment of a dynamic and flexible platform intended to provoke new interpretations of the video medium. The task of collecting three decades of video footage from a time of social and economic critique and upheaval has been a laborious process. In addition to research, the Centre also receives material from artists who seek to add to the historical perspective of video as an accessible and common technology in current artistic practice. Key figures in the forging of Chile's video art scene included Juan Downey (1940-1992), the collective known as Colectivo de Acciones de Arte (CADA), the Escena de Avanzada (The Vanguard Scene) artists, Eugenio Dittborn, Carlos Leppe, Magali Meneses, Sybil Bintrup, Gonzalo Mezza, Carlos Altamirano, Alfredo Jaar, Victor Hugo Codocedo, Carlos Flores and Juan Enrique Forch. — More »

Trama 2000-2005
Feature by Trama ARI Argentina

TRAMA was initiated in Argentina in 2000 by a group of artists. Rather than look for certainties, TRAMA created a context to share and confront questions, experiences and ideas. This article quotes various key figures involved in the collaborative practice of TRAMA, which, in 2006 became a network of artist led initiatives, formed by: La Agencia (Buenos Aires), El Levante (Rosario), La Baulera (Tucumán), Tallerh (Córdoba) and VOX (Bahía Blanca). Please visit for more information — More »

Feature by Daena Mossman Zara Stanhope

Co-curators Zara Stanhope and Danae Mossman discuss TRANS VERSA – a project by thirteen artists at three venues in Santiago as part of The South Project 'gathering'. Through this conversation Stanhope and Mossman discuss some of the challenges and aims of the project - to avoid being the importers of pre-existing art and to create an interest in engendering collaboration, with the fundamental idea based on flow and movement across geography. This discussion engages notions of globalisation, communication, knowledge and various cross-cultural agendas. — More »

Tributaries: South Africa
Feature by Khwezi Gule Sharlene Khan

This article acts as a rough guide to recent art from South Africa. With galleries having multiplied during the early 2000s, the current state of contemporary art in South Africa is so that there are various major galleries, artist-run spaces, community arts centres, municipal galleries and museums and corporate collections helping to sow the seeds of what might in the near future become a more dynamic art circuit. — More »

Ventriloquism: South Africa
Feature by Khwezi Gule

This article seeks to reveal something of the nature of images in contemporary South African art, as often putting black bodies and black sexuality on display for consumption not only by popular media but also the elite, largely white gallery-going public. In particular it is the work of Nicholas Hlobo and Churchill Madikida that has brought issues of male sexuality and masculinity in Xhosa society into sharp focus. This article looks at this in relation to the ritual of male circumcision, homophobia, HIV/AIDS, exoticism and the overall notion of male blackness and identity in contemporary South African art. — More »

Walks and Transmissions: Santiago
Feature by Tom Nicholson

Tom Nicholson is led by Galeria Metropolitana's co-director Luis Alarcon through an area of Santiago, which exists for the most part as a wasteland brought down during Pinoche's dictatorship. In one of the neighbouring suburbs, La Victoria, Nicholson learns of some of the area's history - being inhabited by landless people in 1957 - and of the commemorative action that takes place annually to mark this occupation. In accordance with these activities, Galeria Metropolitana held an event which featured the work of Aotearoan/New Zealand artist Daniel Malone and which brought attention to the different - and often conflicting - claims to truth with which words and images articulate experiences and aspirations. — More »

Blood Sweat & Fears: Penny Byrne Full article available
Review by Tracey Clement

Penny Byrne: Blood Sweat and Fears Sullivan +Strumpf Fine Art Sydney 6 – 25 March 2007 — More »

Eyes Lies and Illusions Full article available
Review by Justine Khamara

Eyes Lies and Illusions Australian Centre for the Moving Image Melbourne 2 November 2006 - 11 February 2007 — More »

Intimate Epics: Richard Woldendorp Full article available
Review by Ric Spencer

Richard Woldendorp: Intimate Epics Goddard de Fiddes Gallery, Perth 3 - 24 February 2007 — More »

Part & Particle: Denise Ava Robinson Full article available
Review by Jane Stewart

Part and particle Denise Ava Robinson Burnie Regional Art Gallery 2 February – 11 March 2007 — More »

Port Adelaide: Rites of Passage Full article available
Review by Vivonne Thwaites

Port Adelaide : Rites of Passage Curator: Margot Osborne Adelaide Central Gallery 30 March – 21 April 2007 — More »

Project Belonging: Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan Full article available
Review by Nicholas Thompson

Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan Project Belonging: Another country Jan Manton Gallery, Brisbane 16 – 28 April 2007 — More »

saltwaterfreshwater Full article available
Review by Ian McLean

saltwaterfreshwater Curator: Thelma John Central TAFE Gallery, Perth 10 - 28 April 2007 — More »

Sneakers: Classic to Customs Full article available
Review by Cliff Burtt

Sneakers: Classics to Customs Curator: Roger Leong National Gallery of Victoria 16 December 2006 - 8 July 2007 — More »

Stranded: Neil Haddon Full article available
Review by Bec Tudor

Neil Haddon: Stranded Criterion Gallery, Hobart 22 March – 21 April 2007 — More »

The One and the Many Full article available
Review by Ben Eltham

Curators: Holly Arden and Chris Handran Griffith University, DELL Gallery Queensland College of Art 17 February – 14 April 2007 — More »

The Weather Report: James Guppy Full article available
Review by Joanna Mendelssohn

James Guppy: The Weather Reports Brenda May Gallery, Sydney 6 February – 3 March 2007 — More »

Turbulence: Third Auckland Triennial Full article available
Review by Stella Brennan

Turbulence: Third Auckland Triennial Curator: Victoria Lynn 9 March - 4 June 2007 — More »

Visual Animals Symposium Full article available
Review by Alan Lee

Visual Animals: crossovers, evolution and new aesthetics Curator: Ian North Art Gallery of South Australia/CACSA 18 - 19 April 2007 — More »

Issue Index

Other articles & reviews
in this issue