Mail & Guardian | Nadine Botha:


Twelve women curators speak of the challenges of being top decision-makers in South Africa’s art world.

Gender bias in the South African art sector favours women, but the “hypervisibility” of a handful of black artists and curators obscures the fact that true transformation is more elusive.

Hlengiwe Vilakati, owner of Jo Anke gallery. (Photo by Madelene Cronjé).

Speaking out against institutionalised whiteness in the South African art system came at a huge cost to Sharlene Khan. She received hate mail, her employer received defamatory letters urging her to fire Khan, gallerist Monna Mokoena was told not to exhibit her work, she was humiliated in scholarship interviews, newspapers did not print her exhibition listings and, with two master’s degrees to her name, she was unable to find a lecturing position for four years. Her crime? The “Doing it for daddy” article in Art South Africa magazine in 2006…


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