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Inaugural Stellenbosch Triennale Paves the Way for Future African Artists

Running until 30 April 2020, the first ever Stellenbosch Triennale celebrates African art in an intentional and inclusive way. 


“Tomorrow there will be more of us.” This is not only the theme of the first-ever Stellenbosch Triennale, it is a manifesto that the organisers have put forth to ensure the future of African art is experienced and expanded throughout the world.

Created by the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust and years in the making, the Stellenbosch Triennale celebrates African art on African soil, while simultaneously decolonising art by making it more accessible to all. They have done this in very deliberate ways, starting with the venue.

Stellenbosch is a historically a white town and the memorial ground for the architecture and formation of Apartheid. According to the Stellenbosch Triennale’s chief curator, Khanyisile Mbongwa, this site is a “pivotal landmark for an eco-system of transition, where art can be more than just aesthetic pleasure but also a space for interrogating the past and exploring perspectives of sustainable futures.”

It is the hope of the organisers that this Triennale will be a space for people to initiate dialogue - a space to debate new discourses on art, African art and how to shape the future of it. This is evident in the masterfully curated, multi-disciplinary exhibitions that are hosted all over Stellenbosch. They are found within or close to traditionally under-resourced communities to highlight accessibility, development and the democratisation of art and its numerous benefits for all.

Here is what you can see at the event:

Curators’ Exhibition

Khanyisile Mbongwa and curator Bernard Akoi-Jackson have selected 20 artists from across Africa, to interpret the  Stellenbosch Triennale’s theme “Tomorrow there will be more of us”. They have done this with multi-disciplinary installations both indoors and outdoors. 

Stellenbosch Triennale | House and Leisure
Indigogo by Stacey Gillian Abe as part of the Curators' Exhibition. 


On the Cusp

In line with looking towards the future, this exhibition showcases the talent of ten up-and-coming graduating visual art students and art practitioners. It serves as a launchpad for their careers.

Stellenbosch Triennale | House and Leisure
Objectivity by Valerie Fab-Uce as part of On the Cusp exhibition. 


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From the Vault

The future is based on the past, and this exhibition celebrates and examines the work that came before. Art from archives of Stellenbosch University and The University of Fort Hare is displayed and speaks to the significant of the past and how it can be a compass for the future. 

Stellenbosch Triennale | House and Leisure

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Die Braak Pavilion

The pavilion serves as a public art project that combines art, sculpture and architecture. The structure of the pavilion is built and requires the public to ‘fill’ it in using waste and recycled materials. 

Concepts of Freedom Film Festival

This will showcase a group video art exhibition at Pulp Cinema in Stellenbosch with a film festival taking place between 4 - 7 March 2020.

African ADL Analogue + Digital Music Programme

This exhibition explores the congregation of sounds and vibrations that permeate Africa. It invited artists, musicians and DJ’s to search through archives and compose work that looks at their encounters and experience through sounds.

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In addition to these exhibitions, there will be a Creative Dialogues Talk Programme that promotes discussion through short talks and panels. There is also an open-source online learning platform called the Imaginarium to facilitate learning the arts.

To see the full programme and venues of exhibitions head to the Stellenbosch Triennale website.