2013 Aug. 17: South African Artists shining the light abroad


Zanele Muholi’s Faces & Phases @ 55th Venice Biennale, Italy.

… from 55th Venice Biennale, Italy to My Joburg, Paris.
We are (t)here.

Imaginary Fact

What the Minister of Arts & Culture, Paul Mashatile said at the opening of SA Pavillion at Venice Biennale on the 31st May 2013.



31 May 2013

Director of Ceremonies

Our partners, the National Arts Festival whom we have appointed to curate and stage this exhibition

Our artists


Members of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As South Africa we are proud to be back again at this year’s Venice Biennale; the Olympics of the art world.

As we promised when we were here two years ago, we have this time brought a much bigger exhibition.

We are satisfied that, once again, we have brought to the Biennale some of the finest artists and visual art works our country has to offer.

We are also delighted to announce that we have secured a permanent exhibition space for South Africa at this premier art fair.

This not only signifies our long-term commitment to the Biennale but is also part of our ongoing efforts to showcases our country’s rich and diverse artistic talent on major world stages.

We are doing this because we believe that South African art and artists can hold their own against the best in the world.

Our presence at the Biennale is part of our overall commitment to give exposure to our artists; opening up opportunities for them to access new markets for their works.

By strengthening trade in artistic goods and services; we ensure the sustainability of our sector and enhance its contribution to the national effort to create jobs and grow our economy.

I take this opportunity to thank officials in my Department for the work they have done to secure South Africa’s participation at the Venice Biennale.

We also thank the National Arts Festival for working with us on this project and for bringing their passion, energy and expertise to this important event.

This year our exhibition is titled
Imaginary Fact; Contemporary South African Art and the Archive.”

It showcases artists who use materials of the past to comment on the contemporary.

It is about the protection and preservation of our national heritage and the symbols and artifacts of that heritage.

But it is also about using the arts to question and challenge our reading of the past, to reach a new understanding of it and to craft a new and inclusive narrative for our country.

The voices contained in this exhibition are as rich and varied as those of the citizens of our beautiful land.

They are bold and they are brave!

Some are already celebrated internationally some are beginning to make their voices heard.

All are immensely talented and, as a nation, we are proud of them and of the opportunity to showcase them to the world.

We have brought a total of 17 of our finest artists to this year’s Venice Biennale.

We take this opportunity to wish you all the best.

In you, we have worthy Ambassadors of South African visual arts.

I have no doubt that you will continue to fly the South Africa flag high.

It is my honour to declare the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale officially opened.

Thank you.

Original source of this speech below:

Speech by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, on the occasion of the opening of the South African Pavilion At The 55th Venice Biennale

Related articles

SA art at Venice Biennale makes me proud




South Africa participates at the 55th International Art Exhibition in Venice


Venice Biennale 2013: An imperfect past  and its impact on the present

This entry was posted in Art Activism in South Africa, Art is Queer, Before You, Bie Venter, Brenton Maart, Collaborations, Community, Donna Kukama, History, Human rights, Minister Paul Mashatile, Queer visibility, Race, revolution, SA mainstream media, SA Pavillion @ 55th Venice Biennale, South African art, South African Artists, Visual history is a Right not a luxury, Visualizing public spaces, We Are You, We Care, We were (t)here, Zanele Muholi and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 2013 Aug. 17: South African Artists shining the light abroad

  1. Deborah says:

    Will this show be coming to the US?

  2. Pingback: Kjemper for likerett med kamera i hånden | Oslo Fotokunstskoles blogg

  3. lungilepm says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s