UJ Art Gallery presents Privileges of Proximity

Opening conversations, Thabo Seshoka is reimagining and repositioning the UJ Art Collection in Privileges of Proximity.

UJ Art Gallery is proud to present new UJ Curator, Thabo Seshoka’s first exhibition, Privileges of Proximity: In Conversation with the University’s Art Collection set to open on 2 April 2022. This is the first full exhibition opening since the start of lockdown in 2020 and the UJ Art Gallery invites the public to join them at 11:00 for 11:30 am at the UJ Art Gallery on the UJ Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park.

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Privileges of Proximity: In Conversation with the University’s Art Collection draws on the UJ Art Collection and seeks to consider and critically engage with the different approaches and ideologies that informed its establishment and further re-imagine, interrogate and ‘re-position’ the artists whose works form part of these collections in present day society.

“As the UJ Art Gallery we are reimagining and repositioning ourselves and this exhibition has been a good way to start the dialogue. It has opened the doors of the collection to me, allowing me to critically engage with the collection, pose questions and actively work towards more honest, constructive conversations about the collection,” says Seshoka.

University Collections are traditionally shaped by the notion of collecting in the present and preserving for the future. In most cases, art collections are often built around particular periods, sentiments and ideologies. The process of collecting and managing collections is subjective and customarily pivot around the ‘selection’, ‘omission’ or ‘underrepresentation’.

The UJ Art Collection is no different, its emergence is rooted in the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) and Technikon Witwatersrand Art collections, which were established to collect and promote particular types of Art. In this respect there are some artists, periods and forms that are better represented and others that have been excluded. In reading the collection, Seshoka brings his youth, curatorial context, and new thought processes to the space, and as such views the collection in a new and different light.

“It is important to remember that the ideas that were shaping the development of RAU at the time, shaped the development of the art collection, it was a projection of power and was highly conservative,” says Seshoka. Our audiences, the social climate and collecting practices have evolved, the context has changed, and it is important that we reposition our collection to speak to these changes.”

Seshoka points out that although Privileges of Proximity has given him the opportunity to critically engage with and reposition the collection, he is not disregarding what has been and in no way are his curatorial decisions absolute in nature. Privileges of Proximity has been curated as a space that encourages a broader conversation and invites viewers of all ages and walks of life to raise questions, and engage with the UJ Art Collection.

Privileges of Proximity: In Conversation with the University’s Art Collection opens on the 2 April and runs until 15 April 2022. The public are invited to the opening event from 11:00 for 11:30 am.

Click here to RSVP


About UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts. In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA offers programmes in eight creative disciplines in art, design and architecture, as well as being home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre.