Constitution Hill hosted an exhibition in memory of Youth day. This was curated by the owners of the Kalashnikovv gallery in Braamfontein. They invited a selection of young artists who are related to ‘youth’ in either subject matter or age.
The content of the exhibition was interesting as they contemplated newer media or subject matter than has been considered in a space like ConHill. The juxtaposition of the aged building and its history of Apartheid, prison, our struggle and freedom in South Africa to the newer content seen in the artwork created an amazing dialogue. I imagined the memory and history of those who fought against Apartheid overseeing this exhibition of young, hopeful artists, eager to display all they had achieved in the ‘new South Africa’.
Sadly, because the exhibition ran late (opening time was 6pm) I was not able to read the curatorial statement as the vinyl was still being installed as viewers waited for the bar, food and sound to be set up. AFDA also ran a series of short movies in a separate room which entertained most of us while we waited to be allowed into the exhibition space.
Everyone was then allowed to eat and drink while the host, Nontobeko Ntombela, presented the speeches for the evening.
I was glad to see a contemporary exhibition being held in such a historical space. ConHill is so central not only geographically but historically. Much of the lessons and wisdom we should be applying to ‘new South Africa’ is held on that premises and I believe it is something we overlook. With the revival of Braamfontein and the rest of the city centre I hope we don’t forget spaces like this which exist as a marker for what we have achieved as a young democracy.