Nomusa Makhubu

Nomusa Makhubu

Biography

Artist and Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture, University of Cape Town
Art Interventionism and Social Engagement in African Visual Art
Mandela Mellon Fellow
Fall 2017

 
 
 

Nomusa Makhubu (BFA, MA, PhD, PGDHE) is an art historian and artist. She is the recipient of the ABSA L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award (2006) and the Prix du Studio National des Arts Contemporain, Le Fresnoy (2014). Makhubu is the chairperson of Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI). She is a member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). Makhubu is an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS-AHP) fellow and was a research fellow of the Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) in Nigeria, Lagos. She is the chairperson of the Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI). Makhubu was a committee member of the National Arts Festival. She was a recipient of the CAA-Getty travel award in 2014. She co-edited a Third Text Special Issue: ‘The Art of Change’ (2013) and later co-curated the international exhibition, Fantastic, in 2015. Her current research focuses on African popular culture, photography, interventionism, live art and socially-engaged art. She lectures Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Project Description

Art Interventionism and Social Engagement in African Visual Art

Over the last twenty years, there has been an increase in unconventional art forms and popular cultural interventions in African urban spaces that not only challenge the traditional tenets of the art history discipline but can also be seen as complex forms of social engagement. Art forms such as live art, performance and popular cultural interventions in African urban spaces re-open some of the debates sparked by similar cultural movements in Europe and America (since the 1960s) but they pose new questions about the complexities of African urban spaces. This study approaches live art interventionist aesthetics as significant discourses that illuminate the paradoxes of social practice in contemporary African cities. Taking up the fantastic as a conceptual framework to approach live art, performance and popular cultural interventions in African urban spaces, I interrogate changing conceptions of public space, collective action, and (artistic) citizenship. The interest in often-anonymous art interventions is based on how these snub the conventions and economies of global art practice for emancipatory aesthetics and radical approaches. The fantastic is therefore a response to overwhelming visual politics that lend public spaces a surreal quality. This research examines the ways in which performance in live art, video art and video-film is used to renegotiate ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres in continually changing and enigmatic urban spaces of Africa. This book project is conceptualized as an open-engagement with artists who are re-imagining urban spaces. It is an academic project through which postgraduate students can be mentored and active collaboration with scholars from different parts of the continent can be built through workshops, seminars and active engagement in performance events.


Fall 2017: Mandela Mellon Fellow


 

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