National Pavilion UAE - Phantoms of the past or redemption for the future | Review by Gabriella Quagliato
  • Phantoms of the past or redemption for the future | Review by Gabriella Quagliato

    Review of the National Pavilion of South Africa.. an Imaginary fact


    Situated next to our pavilion, I cannot escape being part of this exhibition since I am always subjected to a mix of sounds: speeches, rhythms, sounds of sighs, murmurs and gasps, the sounds of the technologies used for recording, and children lullabies.

    “REwind: A Cantata for voice, tape and testimony” is the production of G. Marx, M.Marx and P.Miller, only three of the numerous artists exhibiting at the National South Africa Pavilion.

    They have used the Archive of testimonies given from the ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ of the apartheid, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the TRC: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that was established in the mid-1990s as a tool for restorative justice. A movement that has allowed the realization of a process of forgiveness and (possibly) amnesty.

    Like most of the other artists exhibiting, the works have been created almost with the ambition of changing the course of our contemporary world.

    The curator Brendon Maart contends that the materials of the past are used to comment on the contemporary, and shows where South Africa is heading as it celebrates its 20th anniversary of constitutional freedom.

    It is evident from the works displayed that racial segregation and profiling is still very story and has impacted the political, the social and the cultural facade of the society.

    The South African pavilion presents an opportunity to question and challenge the reading of the past in order to reach a new understanding of it and to craft a new and inclusive narrative for the country.

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