The anonymous and random public artistic interventions that comprised Any Given Sunday—which originally took place in the city of Cape Town and its townships from 15 May – 24 July 2016— were intended to reflect on the social, economic and political tensions of Cape Town, set against its histories and relevant sites. This covert approach underscored the central intention of the series: as a gentle and submerged way of foregrounding contested notions of visibility and acceptance in the city’s racially segregated spaces.
The work of participating visual artists—Buhlebezwe Siwani, Zanele Muholi, Gerald Machona, Sethembile Msezane, Burning Museum, Hasan and Husain Essop, poet Koleka Putuma and veteran musician Madosini—all centered, in various ways, on questions of power and prejudice: structural, institutional and personal.
The chance artistic occurrences highlighted diverse public and private concerns: violent deaths, corrective rape in the townships, religious minorities, marginalized histories, xenophobia against black Africans in South Africa, the still dominant white patriarchy of public monuments, the ambiguous role of traditional healers, and the dying art of indigenous music forms, among other.
While this project was inspired by the 2015 student led university protests across South Africa and their sense of urgency of the now, the artists—via their socially engaged artistic practice—contributed to a dynamic and interactive communal undertaking, which constantly shifted and altered predetermined schemas of art, its institutions, and its expected publics.
Conceived around chance and random encounters with art in the public space, Any Given Sunday’s curator, Riason Naidoo, was invited to work with the museum to exhibit the project’s artistic performances and interventions in the art institution, a space the series initially rejected.
The project’s archival documents and recordings—along with the inclusion of some of the original objects from the art istic interventions supplement sometimes by artists’ photos from the same series, an idea initiated by the museum—creates new encounters in the aftermath of this independent and undercover undertaking.
This confrontation of an ephemeral public art project shown here also presents the museum with the challenge to redefine itself, to be relevant with current social issues and an opportunity to broaden its audience. Similarly, it invites its audience to actively effect that change; by engaging we shape our experience and contribute to the conversations that ignited the project.
Any Given Sunday gives thanks to the following partners and supporters:
Draft (Institute for Contemporary Art Research – Zurich University of the Arts & Khanabadosh, India), Pro Helvetia (Swiss Arts Council), Heinrich Böll Stiftung (Southern Africa), Institute for Creative Arts (ICA, formerly GIPCA), Pro Helvetia & Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), African Pride – 15 on Orange Hotel, Cape Town, Lalela; Silikamva High School, Langa Methodist Church, Moholo Live House, Straight No Chaser Jazz Club, The Drawing Room, Blackboard Trust, Romatex Home Textiles, South African Clothing & Textile Workers Union (SACTWU).
Any Given Sunday project team:
Curator: Riason Naidoo
Advisory Committee: Jay Pather, Richard Pithouse
Curatorial Assistant: Mhlanguil George
All images courtesy of Riason Naidoo and artists.
For the duration of this exhibition various collaborations will be taking place with participating artists, keep an eye out on WHAT’S ON to see the announcements of these events.