Youth activism exhibition to open at District Six Museum

The Phefumla (breathe!) exhibition will be opening at the District Six Museum next week

A travelling group exhibition, Phefumla (breathe!), which was inspired by activism at universities during the past two years, is set to open at the District Six Museum next week.

The artwork, which includes sculpture, photography, sound installation and documentary film, was produced by the inaugural Open Forum residency at Stellenbosch University in October last year.

Artist and Sea Point resident Greer Valley, who co-ordinated the exhibition, said it was an artistic reflection of what had happened on campuses in 2015 and 2016.

“We wanted to commemorate the first occupation of our university administration buildings, admin B in October 2015,” Ms Valley said.

She and Rabia Omar co-ordinated the Open Forum programme, an independently funded residency programme for artists and students involved in student activism at Stellenbosch University.

During October 2016, the Open Forum collective “occupied” the university gallery to co-curate a programme of poetry, music, installations and film screenings that reflected on the issues raised by the #FeesMustFall and Open Stellenbosch student movements.

“We recognise that Open Forum is a dynamic project that will evolve as the student movements continue to evolve.

“The artists replied to the call for the residency and Rabia and myself, assisted by other students and academic staff, selected proposals. We then awarded the selected participants with what we called micro grants, depending on the scale of the work, to make an artwork over October 2016.”

She said some of the pieces that people could look forward to at the exhibition includes Flight by Nicolene Burger, a sculptural and performance work which was removed by the university’s private security a few minutes after it was installed; performance art by Sami Maseko, Grace Peterson and Stephane Conradie; and a Braille installation by Thato Phatlane.

The exhibition opens on Tuesday April 25, at 6pm, and will run for two weeks.

Call the District Six Museum on 021 466 7200.