'A Roaming African Biennial'

The New Museum

Friday, March 25, 7 p.m and Saturday, March 26,

Gabi Ngcobo’s Proposition imagines a pan-African biennial of contemporary art based on two models: Manifesta,the roaming European biennial of contemporary art; and the Africa Cup of Nations, a nomadic biannual soccer tournament. How do we reframe questions around biennials to consider the geographical scope of this continent alongside logistical challenges, linguistic and cultural divides, and uneven economic realities?

On March 26 at 2 p.m. Binyavanga Wainaina, Director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Artists and Writers at Bard College, NY joins Ngcobo to speak about his experiences based on Pilgrimages, a project by the Achebe Center, in which fourteen prominent writers were sent on a guided pilgrimage to thirteen cities in Africa (and Salvador do Bahia, Brazil) during the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa.

Gabi Ngcobo is an independent curator based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her curatorial projects include “Second to None” at Iziko South African National Gallery, “Olvida quen soy/ Erase me from who I am” at CAAM, Canary Islands, Las Palmas 2006, “Titled/Untitled,” a curatorial collaboration with Cape Town based collective Gugulective and “Scratching the Surface Vol. 1,” a manje-manje projects initiative at the AVA Gallery, Cape Town. In 2010 she co-curated “rope-a-dope: to win a losing war” at Cabinet, New York, “Second Coming, a curatorial collaboration” at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. She recently co-founded the Center for Historical Reenactments, an independent platform based in Johannesburg, and curated “PASS-AGES: references & footnotes” at the old Pass Office, Johannesburg as well as an ongoing research project titled Xenoglossia. She is a graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

Propositions is a public forum that explores ideas in development. Each two-day seminar introduces a topic of current investigation in an invited speaker’s own artistic or intellectual practice. Over the course of a seminar session, these developing ideas are responded to, researched, and discussed to propel them forward in unique ways. This month’s Proposition is by Gabi Ngcobo.

The structure of Propositions is as follows:

Friday, 7:00 PM – Initial proposition and lecture

Saturday, 2:00 PM – Guest speaker responds, followed by discussion with audience




Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

1 Comment
  1. Great idea.

    I vote with the nomadic African Cup of Nations as template. Actually the biennale could be welded onto the roaming Cup of Nations itself. The Cup has a serious fanbase on both the continent and in the broader African diaspora, and beyond. Showcasing the best of the continent's art in the intersticies of the competition, which also has good TV coverage, would be a great add on. Perhaps aligning and highlighting art by nation.

    Would be good to have an update on this.

Mailing List

Sign up for email updates!


Not the continent with 54 countries

©Africa is a Country, 2016