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Ambassador Patrick Gaspard and his wife Raina Washington are holding two events on June 5, in connection with the arrival of their new collection of American art.

The first is a hands-on mural project with local artists and residents at the Maboneng Township Art Experience, in Langa; and the second is a conversation about contemporary art that will take place at the AVA Gallery (35 Church St, Cape Town) during the monthly First Thursday festivities. 

Maboneng Township Art Experience

The Maboneng Township Art Experience is a national public arts initiative and World Design Capital Project that transforms township homes into galleries, empowers residents to become curators and entrepreneurs, exposes local artists to larger audiences, and engenders art appreciation in the community.  The artists will collaborate with local artists, students and residents on murals and art installations in two homes. http://www.maboneng.com/node/1
Sanford Biggers, Cheshire Billboard, 2010. Nike Undefeated Billboard, Los Angeles, CA. From www.sanfordbiggers.com
The AVA Gallery, ‘Transformations: A Conversation on Identity, Race and History in Contemporary Art’
35 Church Street, Cape Town. 17:30 for 18:00

A 90-minute panel discussion featuring the five U.S. and S.A. artists, with introductory remarks by U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard.  
The ambassador and his family have selected a collection of art that explores identity, culture and agency over historic narratives, a theme that should resonate with both American and South African audiences.  This special collection is made possible through the U.S. State Department’s ‘Art in Embassies’ program. This program, established in 1963, produces temporary exhibitions of original American artworks, on loan from a variety of sources for representational spaces worldwide.

The two American discussion panelists, well-known artists Sanford Biggers and Robert Pruitt, will be accompanied by Deborah Willis, a prominent U.S. art professor, who will moderate the discussion. This talented trio will be joined by two of their distinguished South African peers, Mary Sibande and Nicholas Hlobo.

Deborah Willis, Ph.D. (moderator)

Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging, 
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University 

Deborah Willis is the recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher, and MacArthur fellowships, the Infinity Award in Writing from the International Center for Photography, and the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award. Named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” by American Photography magazine, she is a leading historian of African American photography and curator of African American culture.


Sanford Biggers
, US Artist

A Los Angeles native working in New York City, Sanford Biggers creates works that integrate film, video, installation, sculpture, drawing, original music and performance. He intentionally complicates issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity and art history in order to offer new perspectives and associations for established symbols.
Nicolas Hlobo
 SA Artist
Nicholas Hlobo was born in Cape Town and lives in Johannesburg. In his work, he weaves together disparate materials including satin ribbon, leather and the inner tubes of car tires. Anchored in dense Xhosa cultural references and his experiences of living in post-apartheid South Africa, his work is highly individual and seductively tactile.

Robert Pruitt
, US Artist

Robert Pruitt is an artist living and working in Houston, Texas. He creates drawings and sculptures about the complexity of Black identity by combining contrasting signs and imagery of disparate influences and aesthetics. He layers science fiction, hip-hop music, comic books, and Black political and social struggles into layered portraits.

Mary Sibande
, SA Artist

Mary Sibande lives and works in Johannesburg. In her paintings and sculptures, she employs the human form as a vehicle to explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context.  She critiques stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women in South African society.
Text courtesy of the U.S. Consulate, Cape Town

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