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40 Years of Collecting: Celebrating the Standard Bank African Art Collection

40 Years of Collecting: Celebrating the Standard Bank African Art Collection (Wits Art Museum) commemorates the forty-year anniversary of the Standard Bank African Art Collection, a partnership between Standard Bank and The University of the Witwatersrand. Curated by Dr Same Mdluli, the exhibition is on show at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg from 13 May to 6 July 2019.

Standard Bank African Art Collection 40 years
From left to right: Staff, Artist unrecorded, Chokwe (Angola), Date unrecorded. Patinated wood, brass studs. Staff, Artist unrecorded, Chokwe (Angola), Date unrecorded. Patinated wood. Standard Bank African Art Collection (Wits Art Museum)

The 40 Years of Collecting: Celebrating the Standard Bank African Art Collection (Wits Art Museum) exhibition marks a remarkable partnership between Standard Bank and the University of Witwatersrand (Wits University) in building the Standard Bank African Art Collection – one of the largest classical African art collections in the southern hemisphere. Then known as the Standard Bank Foundation of African Art, the collection was initially housed at the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries and is currently at Wits Art Museum (WAM), which was established in 2012. The agreement was formalised in 1979 when the senior executives of both institutions, Ian McKenzie and Professor Karl Tober, signed an agreement based on the common goal of collecting, preserving and conserving African cultural material.
     It is in this sentiment of commitment that 40 Years of Collecting: Celebrating the Standard Bank African Art Collection (Wits Art Museum) takes as a reflection of the past four decades of collecting. The exhibition is a kind of trajectory of the collection and focuses on the moments that have shaped and defined an understanding of its many objects, artefacts, artworks and material culture that make up the many groups living in South Africa and Africa today. These defining moments are laid out in the exhibition to map the subtle socio-political nuances of how culture has, to a large extent, remained the same but is also constantly evolving. From the University’s side, the collection, as noted by Crump, ‘would serve several far-reaching purposes in the struggle for a new and more representative educational system in South Africa. It would facilitate a “hands-on” teaching apparatus for History of Art and the Fine Arts department.’
     40 Years of Collecting: Celebrating the Standard Bank African Art Collection (Wits Art Museum) is on show at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg from 13 May to 6 July 2019. The Standard Bank Gallery – located on the corner of Simmonds and Frederick Streets in central Johannesburg – offers free, safe undercover parking on the corner of Harrison and Frederick Streets. Gallery hours: Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:20 and Saturdays from 09:00 to 13:00. Entrance to the exhibition is free.

To read more about 40 Years of Collecting: Celebrating the Standard Bank African Art Collection (Wits Art Museum), purchase the May 2019 issue of Creative Feel or to continue supporting our role in the South African arts and culture sector, subscribe to our monthly magazine from only R180.00 per year! SUBSCRIBE HERE!

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