The North-West University (NWU) Gallery recently opened its latest digital exhibition, Raconteur, a collection of artworks by alumni and lecturers from NWU created in response to or during the COVID-19 pandemic. Creative Feel spoke to NWU Gallery Curator Amohelang Mohajane to learn a bit more about her, the NWU Gallery, and how she and the gallery have dealt with lockdown.
Creative Feel: As NWU Gallery Curator, could you tell us a bit more about your role and how you got into curating?
Amohelang Mohajane: This is a whole entire story. I started as a Fine Arts Student at TUT with a BTech majoring in Glass Blowing and Ceramics, which are difficult mediums to pursue as careers in South Africa – especially as a black female. And then I moved on to tourist guiding; I am a South African national guide. Through that, I started becoming interested in the attractions I showed the tourists and started doing a bit of research and then, by being exposed to the Constitutional Court Art Collection, I was intrigued at how the collection was put together. I then studied with Wits for a short programme in Curating and moved to Cape Town for my Honours in Curatorship at UCT (CCA). I studied a Master’s in Library Information Science with a specialisation in Digital Curation. I was a curatorial intern at VIAD UJ and I finally landed in Potchefstroom at the North-West University as the first black female curator and collections manager.
CF: How difficult has it been for you and the NWU Gallery to transition to having virtual instead of physical exhibitions? Was this something you had been doing before? And do you think you will continue to incorporate digital/virtual exhibitions in the future?
AM: Not at all a difficult transition; we were just re-looking at different ways to reach our audiences. We do, however, miss the conversations and networking sessions that we have at the opening nights and the walk-ins and inquisitive queries we receive during the duration of the shows. Digital innovation has also allowed new ways of communicating with our audiences and it has been a fruitful learning experience.