An exhibition titled ‘RECAST: Recontextualising the Classical Casts in the University of Johannesburg Collection’, can be seen at UJ from 20–28 March.
The University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) has a collection of 25 plaster casts of classical sculptures, ranging from copies of archaic kouroi to full-size casts of the Nike of Samothrace, and the Aphrodite of Melos, which, for most of their lives, have been hidden in plain sight on campus. The marginalisation of these objects is not unusual, particularly in the South African context. As uncomfortable reminders of an era when culture was didactic, elitist and emphatically Eurocentric, they present obvious challenges for curators, interpreters and historians alike. Thus, it is hardly surprising that where collections of classical objects (or plaster casts) exist in South African public institutions, they have been, at best, marginalised or relegated to storage, and at worst destroyed. Read more