Engaging talks you should not miss at Turbine Art Fair 2023

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS

As art lovers look forward to the next edition of the popular art Fair Turbine Art Fair, this is the time to plan one’s diary as to what one would like to prioritise at the fair. Planning ahead how one would like to experience the fair is very important as sometimes the experience can be overwhelming with so many things taking place, sometimes at the same time. Under such circumstances, it can be tricky choosing what to experience where and what time, even what day, after all there is so much to see, feel, hear and of course art to view and possibly buy at this year’s art fair.

One of the most important segments of the fair that one should consider not missing is the art talks, and this is because at these talks one gets to learn a lot about the contemporary art scene as experts and curators engage deeply with the art scene.

It’s a Black Girl

This year is not different, and in fact the organisers have pulled together an impressive programme of talks that promises not only to be usefully informative, but immersive and therefore engaging.

This year’s art fair of course coincides with the move to its new home, Hyde Park Corner, a venue that is accessible as well as providing ample parking for those who will choose to attend the fair, choosing to drive there instead of using other forms of transportation services such as e-hailing.

And just like the previous years, this year, TAF, South Africa’s much loved accessible art fair, is dedicated to showcasing contemporary art from emerging and established artists. With a strong focus on education and fostering dialogue around the South African art market, TAF provides a platform for artists, collectors, and enthusiasts to engage with the vibrant art scene. The fair features a curated selection of artworks, special projects, talks, and walkabouts, making it an unmissable event on the art calendar. TAF has always been renowned for its commitment to education, not only through a diverse range of special projects but also with an extensive talks program. The highly anticipated TAF Talks, designed for art enthusiasts eager to gain deeper insights into the South African art market and the broader arts scene, form an integral part of the fair.

Nathaniel Sheppard

Curated by Palesa Segomotso Motsumi, the founder of Sematsatsa Library, the 2023 TAF Talks Programme promises to be an exceptional gathering of artists, curators, writers, cultural and art practitioners.

Motsumi explains, “The 2023 TAF Talks Programme brings together an array of visionaries in Art, Sustainability, Design, and Fashion, with a strong emphasis on Storytelling and collaboration, all aimed at propelling the discourse forward. “Fair goers will be able to attend these enlightening talks free of charge. The talks will take place daily, and are on a first come first basis. In addition to the stimulating talks program, TAF will also offer daily walkabouts of the fair.

Mummy Khumalo

Glynis Hyslop, the Founder of Turbine Art Fair, affirms, “The walkabouts of the fair are always a highlight for attendees, as they provide a unique opportunity to gain fresh perspectives on the exhibited works from industry experts, celebrities, and artists themselves.” Don’t miss the chance to experience the remarkable fusion of art, education, and exploration at Turbine Art Fair 2023.

TAF Talks Line Up

Friday 28 July 2023 12PM: Art is Freedom: Some Artists Can Give You Two Heartbeats. Borrowing from a book titled, Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats, this talk is centred around decolonial artistic practices as well as Pan-Africanist ideas. Questions such as What is freedom of expression? What is freedom of speech in the age of the internet of things and AI? How do artists work with each other beyond continental borders? And how do artists tell their own stories without being marginalised or prohibited from expressing their own creative ideas? This is a multidisciplinary, multi-pronged, Pan-African round table discussion with scholars, researchers, artists and writers on how they have chosen to answer these questions through their work.

Moderated by: Eve Fairbanks 2PM: Art is Fashion: African By Design, Slow By Nature. Climate Change and the Circular Economy are interchangeably key terms used in the Fashion Industry, nowadays. In this talk, sustainability experts, cultural practitioners and an Arts writer speak on the relevance of the African Fashion industry and slow fashion practices that can change how fashion is consumed and how buying local can save the planet.

Moderated by: Modupe Oloruntoba 4PM: Art is By Design: African Creatives Talk Luxury and Collaborations. This is a special conversation between two African creatives on their collaborative projects with local and international brands, which have been successfully executed in an age of creative consent and social currency. The talk will also signal how collaborations play a role in the fashion and art landscape.

Moderated by: Annicia ‘Nich’ Manyaapelo Saturday 29 July 2023Saturday, 10AM:  Art is Storytelling: How personal stories create brands. We all know the power of brands and personal stories but do we know the power of personal branding? Between 2020 and 2022, we saw many African brands surfacing and using social media platforms more than ever, influencing the way creatives engage with brands and their followers. In this particular discussion, brand strategist, Thobile Dlamini is in conversation with women who are at the forefront of shaping some of S.A’s stories in the creative industries.

Moderated by: Thobile Dlamini 12PM:Art is Joburg: A Single Shot Tells A Story. Johannesburg, Joburg, Johustleburg or bet yet, Jozi Maboneng is a place and space that’s different for everyone who enters it or surrounds itself with it. In this particular talk, photographers and curators discuss the importance of telling stories through the lens and what Johannesburg means to them as a city for everybody, a photographer’s paradise and a city dweller’s dream.

Moderated by: Mpho Mahlatsi.2PM: Art is Personal: Being BOLD as an artist. This is an intimate, curated talk with three womxn artists who will be honoured by the Turbine Art Fair for their contribution to the Visual Arts landscape and promoting South African Contemporary Art, internationally.

Moderated by :Palesa Segomotso MotsumiSunday 30 July 202311AM:Art is Education: The City As Palimpsest. The writer, photographer and Art Historian, Teju Cole once said that a city is like a palimpsest and in most instances, its beauty is probably experienced through its architectural design and cultural institutions. The history and impact of Arts  and Cultural institutions such as Rorke’s Drift and Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg have played a huge role in any artist’s creative work and much of it is written and hidden in books, journal articles and research papers. This talk acts as an intervention to discuss curatorial and art projects that are inspired by the cultural scene of cities like Lagos, Johannesburg, and New York.

Moderated by Eve Fairbanks. 2PM: Art is Archival: When histories have been erased and voices left unheard, music can provide another window into the past for us to learn from. In this talk, we look at sound archives and what that means within a South African context – from the perspective of DJs and diggers who carefully study history – to that of musicians who continue to feed our rich tradition. We also place emphasis on the value of sound and listening, to teach us in ways that other forms cannot. We discuss the importance of creating a music archive as a way to bridge the gaps that history has dealt us.

Moderated by: Atiyyah Khan 4PM: Art is Community: Building and Developing Artists. It is no. easy feat to work with emerging artists in the often tumultuous and ever-changing times of Contemporary Art. Art Curators, Art Practitioners and Art Administrators as well as Artists often have to engage at a community level, first, before presenting their work to the public. This talk will include various creative voices who work in community to build and grow artists in different locations.

About the Curator

Palesa Segomotso Motsumi is the founder of Sematsatsa Library, a social entrepreneurial initiative focused on empowering and strengthening the rich imagery and work of the youth and women of colour in the creative industries, specifically within the Visual Arts. She is an experienced writer with extensive knowledge of the Visual Arts sector in South Africa. She works as an independent curator and arts consultant as well and served as a member of the Acquisitions committee at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum for over 3 years with a vision to include women artists in the museum collection.

Her independent practice has gained immense attention internationally with features as a panellist at the first edition of Black Portraitures in 2017 in Johannesburg as well as the inaugural Favela Immersivo Festival in August 2021, bringing voices from the Global South together in one platform. Some of her career highlights include representing artists such as the late Benon Lutaaya at the Art Africa Art Fair and working with local Free State artists in various capacities.

She is recognized as a voice within the Visual Arts space in her home province and judged two Art prizes, namely the Phatsoane Henney Art Prize as well the Sasol Signatures Free State leg of the prize. She has participated and /or presented talks at the Visual Arts Network of South Africa, Bag Factory Artist Studios, Zeitz Mocaa, Greatmore Artist Studios as well as the African Art in Venice Forum.

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