Ik Ben Een Afrikander is an ongoing project curated by Teresa Lizamore under the auspices of Lizamore & Associates.
Lizamore explains: “When we initially decided to do an exhibition based on the exploration of the Afrikaner’s place as an African, little did we realise how overwhelming the response would be. The curatorial narrative took as its cue the first person recorded (according to legend) to have identified himself as an Afrikaner, Hendrik Biebouw. In March 1707 he proclaimed ‘Ik ben een Afrikander’, when he was threatened with expulsion from the Cape as he did not want to leave South Africa and his use of the phrase at the time was meant to claim his ‘Africanness’”.
The first Ik Ben Een Afrikander exhibition at Artpsace (now Lizamore & Associates) in 2011 attracted significant critical response and media attention. This exhibition was then followed by a second exhibition at the 2012 Stellenbosch University Word Fest and a third exhibition at the 2012 Absa Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK), where Ik Ben Een Afrikander received a Kanna nomination for best visual art exhibition. Ik Ben Een Afrikander: The Unequal Conversation will be exhibited during 2015 and early 2016.
Lizamore comments about The Unequal Conversation: “When identifying artists for this show, we looked to significant names whose artistic practice would lend itself to this narrative. Upon looking at our list, we realised that, like other industries, a pattern started emerging that gave us a new insight. Looking at artists who have established important careers in South Africa, our list became very heavily weighted toward white male artists.” This exhibition showcases four white male artists, Strijdom van der Merwe, Hentie van der Merwe, Luan Nel and Jan van der Merwe, in conversation with one white female, Rosemarie Marriot and one black female artist, Senzeni Marasela, all of whom were born and came to maturity well prior to 1994. Their formative years, whether moving from childhood to adulthood, or as adults climbing the ladder of artistic success, all coincide with South Africa’s transition to democracy.