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RMB LATITUDES LIVE | A call to gather

Latitudes Live is a programme of talks and activations that are aimed at facilitating an enhanced and holistic experience of RMB Latitudes 2024.

This year’s programme is concerned with interrogating the evolving relationship of the modernist gallery space (or the white cube) to African Art. The hopeful intention is to find new, innovative and regenerative ways to inform exhibition-making, and other elements and tools within the art ecosystem, that draw from and cater to our context.

This year’s Latitudes Live Talks and Performance Programme is curated by Lebo Kekana.

RMB Latitudes 2023 Talks Programme, photography by Anthea Pokroy


A word from Lebo Kekana

Our history reveals how modern life on the African continent has always found its form through creative expression, as manifested through the material objects of the traditional African compound. Tethered to utility and because of their religious, symbolic or social meaning, many of the products of African artisans were often part of a larger experience given by ceremony, which included grand moments of gathering and ritual, with emotions heightened by expression through dance, music, singing or poetic declamation.

Upon close inspection, the adopted Western framework of the white cube (or the modernist gallery space), as it is utilised globally and in the African context, reveals a direct contrast of modalities in relation to regional values. This relates to the words of Paul Ricoeur, who in his book History and Truth, wrote that “The phenomenon of universalisation, while being an advancement of mankind, at the same time constitutes a sort of subtle destruction, not only of traditional cultures, which might not be an irreparable wrong, but also of what I shall call for the time being the creative nucleus of great cultures, that nucleus on the basis of which we interpret life, what I shall call in advance the ethical and mythical nucleus of mankind.”

By subverting the white cube – through the programming of Latitudes Live – we are simply reinstating its position, not as a domineering set of rules of form and aesthetic, but rather emphasising its role as merely a platforming mechanism for the thoughts and expressions of artists.

The RMB Latitudes Art fair and its setting of Shepstone Gardens, which is immersive, imaginative, and even whimsical in it’s make-up, can be thought of as a metaphor for how the white cube, as a set of values, is positioned within the context of Africa — within the vastness of culture and the plethora of modalities tied to artistic expression, with diverse aesthetic values, histories, and knowledge systems. As the backdrop for critical engagement in our talks programme, this is thought of as a prerequisite for ideation and innovation, as we seek to find new, generative ways to redefine and supplement the spaces that cultivate artistic expression and that act as conduits of culture — recognising culture as a necessary means of formulation in the application of universal knowledge and technologies to our specific cultural context.

Through an engaging experience of art that encapsulates dance, music, and the use of space as elements of an immersive,sensory experience, the programme seeks to create an appreciation for the internal, intangible, and spiritual space of resonance within oneself, through which art is informed and that which it can invoke. Drawing from the fundamentals of artistic production in Africa, this moment is created as one centred around gathering, to connect our community through a truly communal experience. At a time when the world is looking to this continent for newness, Latitudes Live is an invitation to gather and imagine our future together.

RMB Latitudes 2023 Talks Programme, photography by Anthea Pokroy

*Please note, you need to purchase tickets to the fair before booking your seat.

Further Reading In Articles

African Artist Directory

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