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Curatorial Connective 2021
Research 12 April–28 May 2021
Design element for the 2021 rendition of A4’s Curatorial Connective. Photographic fragments of the storage racks in A4’s archive are arranged across the page.
Design element: Curatorial Connective (CX) 2021, April 12–May 28, 2022. Image courtesy of A4 Arts Foundation.
Title Curatorial Connective 2021 Dates 12 April–28 May 2021 Location Curatorial Studio Tagline Emerging curators are funded by A4 with the support of collectors and their collections to attend a programme of workshops and seminars intended to facilitate access and encourage exchange. Credits

Amina Lawal Agoro
Essé Dabla-Attikpo
Amarie Gipson
Bethuel Githegi
Misha Krynauw 
Khanyisile Mawhayi
Nkhensani Mkhari
Lou Mo
Nkgopoleng Moloi
Frida Robles Ponce
Julie Reiter
Petra Swais

Igshaan Adams
Kevin Beasley
francis burger
Zipho Dayile
Nolan Dennis
Ziphozenkosi Dayile
Tandakazi Dhlakama
Wendy Fisher
Hendrik Folkerts
Melissa Goba
Thembinkosi Goniwe
Ashraf Jamal
Bonolo Kavula
Pulane Kingston
Jova Lynne
Portia Malatjie
Khanya Mashabela
Athi Patra-Ruga
Mitchell Gilbert Messina
Sean O’Toole
Bhavisha Panchia
Jo Ractcliffe
Daniel Rautenbach
Robin Rhode
Alexandra Ross
Penny Siopis
Herman Steyn
Emile Stipp
Sumayya Vally
Piet Viljoen
Mfundi Vundla
Valentine Umansky

Participating collections:
Tshabalala Kingston Collection
Emile Stipp Collection
Vundla Collection
Scheryn Collection

dr heeten bhagat

Curatorial advisors:
Josh Ginsburg
Melissa Goba
Kathryn Smith

Brett Scott

Portal design:
Ben Johnson

The Curatorial Connective was developed in response to the question:

‘How do we grow the critical middle between commerce and the academy?’

Envisioned as a capacity and network-building programme for emerging curators on the continent, as well as those working with a focus on the Global South, the first Curatorial Connective took place online. Following an open call for applications that invited an ‘expanded definition of the curatorial’, twelve curators were chosen by an appointed selection committee to participate in a programme consisting of bi-weekly intensive online seminars. Ambient online ‘Kitchen’ sessions stood in for the more incidental, unscheduled encounters (passing a colleague in a shared studio on the way to make a cup of tea) that can be missed in the online environment. The Curatorial Connective sought to create opportunities for ‘access’, negotiated here as a significant obstacle to curatorial work in the region. Over thirty cultural practitioners working across the arts ecology shared their projects, processes and practices with the cohort through conversations and exchanges that took place over nine weeks. Including ‘collection as practice’, the Connective sought to build relationships between the participating curators and private collectors. The Scheryn Collection, along with collectors Wendy Fisher, Pulane Kingston, Emile Stipp and Mfundi Vundla, offered their support to the initiative. Engaging with the curators in online exchanges, the participating collectors selected works from within their private collections to share to an online Portal created for the programme. As a resource hub, the Portal became a central node within the Connective; part library, part interactive environment where artworks that do not necessarily enjoy the opportunity to be researched and engaged with as those held in public collections might, could be shared and shown, albeit digitally. The twelve curators were asked to enter the programme with a research question that could be developed throughout the programme. Iterations and wholesale shifts in research focus occurred throughout the process, with a research project shared at an online Symposium held to celebrate the close of the Connective. Works from the Portal were shared and shown alongside works from the curators’ own regions, spaces, and places of interest, invigorating the works of South African artists through new and unexpected pairings and combinations. 

Connective Aims:

The aim of the Connective is to provide emerging curators with access, information, and the opportunity to form partnerships within the arts ecology of South Africa. In turn, patrons have the occasion to discuss works held within private collections and the collectors’ methodology and practice. 

Exploring the artworks that are held in personal custodianship enables curators and collectors alike to share these works with publics.

Over seven weeks, the Curatorial Connective facilitates interactions with curators, artists, collectors, and arts workers to establish sites of intersection, build relationships, and create networks of exchange en route to exhibition making. 

An additional outcome is the formation of an alumni of curators from the African continent and beyond. Through this, we hope to create dialogue and connections between South African-based curators, curators on the continent and international curators.