‘Brave New World’...20 Years of Democracy

  • Posted: Jul 15, 2014

Iziko South African National Gallery, until 1 November 2014

Iziko Museums of Africa is celebrating 20 Years of Democracy through the exhibition: ‘Brave New World’...20 Years of Democracy, on display at the Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG) until 1 November 2014. The exhibition commemorates this major milestone through a selection of works from ISANG’s Permanent Collection, acquired between 1994 and 2014.

Facing a brave new world, the first ten years of democracy, presented in 2004, saw artists take a critical look at issues like HIV, AIDS, unemployment, poverty, violence against women and children, crime, ethnicity and identity. Ten years on, artists continue to examine these topics alongside issues of sexuality, self-representation, the re-writing of history, as well as the ownership and exploitation of land.

‘Brave New World’…20 Years of Democracyconsists of a broad range of artistic disciplines, placed in conversation with one another, to offer multi-layered insights into South Africa’s past and present. The works on display in this exhibition invite the audience to witness and to participate in the rich conversations that they provoke. In addition, they serve as an important gauge to assess whether we are upholding the principles of democracy and the Constitution of this country.

“On this occasion of 20 years of democracy and freedom, this exhibition gives expression to the critical views of visual artists and foregrounds many important issues for South Africa during this time. It is particularly appropriate for this exhibition to be hosted at the Iziko South African National Gallery, which is an important national forum that allows for the vociferous evaluation of where we have come from, and how much more we need to accomplish to attain a truly free and democratic society. This exhibition allows members of the public to engage with difficult and victorious issues. These recent acquisitions to our collections grow Iziko’s treasured cultural archives to include a valuable record of our recent histories, social and cultural discourse,”says Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko Museums.

Iziko joins the Department of Arts & Culture in its year-long celebrations of 20 years of democracy, by continuing to place arts, culture and heritage at the centre of its efforts to build an inclusive society, support economic growth and build sustainable livelihoods.

After enduring centuries of physical and mental subjugation, South Africans claimed their hard-fought freedom on April 27th 1994, with the first-ever democratic election. This new-found liberty prompted a concerted effort to confront head-on the wrongs of the Apartheid past. The mission was to forge a collective conviction that would seal the sentiments of the majority of South African people and to be reflected in the new Constitution:

All South Africans are born free and equal in dignity and rights. No individual or group shall receive privileges or be subjected to discrimination, domination or abuse on the grounds of race, colour, language, gender, or creed, political or other opinion, birth or other status.

(Bill of Rights - Article 1, Draft Chapter 2 of the Constitution of South Africa, 1993)

The adoption of the Constitution in 1996 proposed a major political and social transformation of South African society. As early as 1990, Iziko began its own process of transformation by reviewing its acquisitions policy. This revision of the institution’s collecting policies gained major impetus with the release of Nelson Mandela. It paved the way for Iziko Museums to take a proactive approach to enriching its Permanent Collection with the inclusion of works by artists and cultures that were previously excluded and/or marginalized. Today Iziko strives to continue this policy by acquiring contemporary works which are important records of the times we live in.

Museums are at the heart of cultural, social and economic issues in contemporary societies. The preservation of our cultural heritage is a dynamic activity. We as museums, play a key role in development through education and democratisation, while also serving as witnesses of the past; and guardians of humanity’s treasures for future generations of not only this country, but the world.



Issued by: Department of Institutional Advancement – Iziko Museums of South Africa
Telephone: +27 (0) 21 481 3861                  Facsimile: +27 (0) 21 461 9620
Mobile: 073 107 4955                                 E-mail: mkleinsmith@iziko.org.za
Website http://www.iziko.org.za                            


On behalf of:     Office of the CEO, IzikoMuseums of South Africa

Notes to editor:

About Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko)

Iziko operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium, the Social History Centre and three collection‑specific libraries in Cape Town.  The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage.  Iziko is a public entity and non-profit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure.  The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope and Planetarium). Visit our webpage at www.iziko.org.za, join our online community on Facebook (www.facebook.com/IzikoMuseums) or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions. 

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