Stigma, Crime and Money in South African Art Exhibition

By Elfriede Dreyer.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper engages with the politics inherent in the exhibition of artworks in post-apartheid South Africa, an environment tainted by socio-political conflict, xenophobia and survival strategies. Art exhibition in South Africa is complex due to several factors: Ongoing sociopolitical turmoil, lingering political stigma around certain cities, raging violence and crime, unemployment, rapidly rising living costs and financial instabilities. On one hand, being in a developing third-world country, South African artists have relatively few choices when it comes to the exhibition of their work, since it is mostly in the major cities that museums and contemporary art galleries are found. These artists also tend to go where the cultural and fiscal contexts are more conducive to art production, exhibition and reception, since South Africans have become nomadic and tend to move to where it is perceived to be safer and where there are more job opportunities. On the other hand South African galleries and museums are crippled by continual increasing costs, fewer visitors due to urban violence and more politically and financially induced decision-making. They are thus faced with the ongoing task to devise ways in which to speak to artists and audiences alike and to entice them into their spaces.

Keywords: Post-Apartheid South Africa, Nomadic, Stigma, Urban Violence and Crime, Xenophobia, Rising Cost of Living

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.107-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.830MB).

Prof. Elfriede Dreyer

Senior lecturer, Department of Visual Arts, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

The topics of posthumanity, technoculture, Romanticism and utopia/dystopia are ongoing interests in Elfriede Dreyer’s practical and theoretical research. Besides the curating of several exhibitions she exhibited her own work widely, both locally and internationally. As an interdisciplinary arts scholar, she teaches and publishes in the fields of Fine Arts and Visual Communication at the University of Pretoria since March 2003 and before that at UNISA from 1990 to 2003. She was the recipient of several research grants and obtained qualifications in the fields of Fine Arts, Art History, Philosophy, French, Education, Music and Multimedia. She has set up international liaison in the field of Multimedia and is well known as an adjudicator for art competitions and as an external examiner in the disciplines of Fine Arts and Art History. She presented papers at several national and international conferences and chaired a few sessions.


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