Makeshift was an exhibition in two parts.
The first part, which took place in August 2003 in South Africa, involved 25 artists interacting with the dynamics and idiosyncrasies of the inner city spaces that surround the Johannesburg Art Gallery.
The exhibition’s second installment took place at Interurban, a new art centre at Hastings and Carrall in Vancouver. It presented video and photodocumentation of the artists’ projects together with a series of discussions and workshops led by Keren Ben Zeev and Merryn Singer, two artists from the Johannesburg-based Joubert Park Project.
The Johannesburg Art Gallery is located in Joubert Park, a transit hub where crime, high unemployment and homelessness co-exist with street trading, dense commuter traffic, and a wide range of cultural activity. The pressures of daily survival in this neighbourhood, combined with the resourcefulness of people who live, work, or pass through it, have led to a continual reuse and reformulation of space and objects. For the project Makeshift, artists were invited to examine contradictions and connections between the Gallery and this environment. Having to make do with a budget of 100 Rand ($20 CAD) and a three-week timeline, most artists staged transient performances and interventions in public spaces such as markets, streets, taxi ranks, and the park.
In the context of current debates about the relationship of artists and galleries to the Downtown Eastside, the Johannesburg projects serve as a basis for new dialogue and makeshift experiments.
Representing projects by Dirk Bahmann, Keren Ben Zeev, Jeremy Downie, Ismail Farouk, Sphiwe Gama, Nicholas Hlobo, Alison Kearney, Kasia Kwiecinska, Brenton Maart, Vivienne Mahloko, Desne Masie, Toni Morkel & Strangelove, M.U.K.A., Christian Nerf, Marcus Neustetter, Bettina Schultz, Merryn Singer, Eben & Viaan Strydom, David Tshabalala, Obakeng Tshukudu, Mandy van Niekerk, Bie Venter, Gina Waldman.
Makeshift was the third exhibition in a series curated by Master of Arts candidates in the Critical Curatorial Studies Program at the University of British Columbia. It was supported by the Canadian International Development Agency through the Canadian Bureau for International Education; The President’s Office, UBC; the Dean of Arts, UBC; and The Alvin Balkind Fund for Student Curatorial Initiatives.
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