TORRE DI PORTA NUOVA, ARSENALE NUOVISSIMO
3 JUNE > 27 NOVEMBER
May 27, 2011
South Africa’s presence at the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale marks our return to this most important global art event after a long absence. Our reappearance after 17 years takes place nearly a year after the historic first-time-ever kick-off of the FIFA World Cup on the African continent, in South Africa. Since then, our country has enjoyed increased international attention, and it is only fitting that our most talented artists now showcase South African art on the Venice stage.
Art provides one of the most important avenues for self expression, self definition and the potential for nurturing collective understanding. South Africa’s democracy remains vibrant and exciting, and our artists have seized on the accompanying freedom of expression to create works that capture the potency of that freedom.
The South African exhibition, Desire: Ideal Narratives in Contemporary South African Art, is built around a theme that resonates strongly with South Africans young and old: for so long, we as have lived with a deep desire and yearning for freedom and democracy. Human nature being what it is, now that we have attained our political freedom, new desires have taken hold. It is to this yearning that the artists represented here speak with such urgency and eloquence.
The South African Department of Arts and Culture is pleased to provide our support to this historic exhibition. I would like to thank the artists for sharing their creative commitment and abilities, their insights and talents, with us and the world. South Africans are justly proud of their achievements in many fields during the relatively short time since we’ve established our constitutional democracy.
Desire, at the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, will go a long way towards cementing South Africa’s reputation as a freedom-loving nation, and one with an abundance of artistic talent.