Tangencya investigates African modernity in Durban

January 2005 -

The artistic project Tangencya wants to look at the importance of African modernity. To do this, it installed works by ten artists in the South African port of Durban at the end of December 2004. For example, the Mozambican artist Fernando Mabota built a taxi made out of recycled materials and set it up at a taxi rank. Greg Streak took as his starting point the environmental pollution of Wentworth, whereas Fiona Kirkwood made AIDS the issue raised by her installation Survival.

 The name Tangencya is actually a fusion of the English word ‘tangency’ and the Portuguese acronym ‘tangencia’. Literally, the word refers to the point of contact between two objects. 'This project looks at the point of contact between two bodies, where conversation and change take place', says Jamine Zagel of Create Africa South, the project’s organiser. The 'conversations' take place in various Durban neighbourhoods.

The original idea for Tangencya came from artists Miguel Petchkovsky and Adries Botha, when they were working as curators for the Dakar Bienniale and discussing artistic representation at Bienniales. 'The way in which the curatorship defines African representation is no longer determined by the material, social and cultural reality in Africa', says Jamine Zagel.

Tangencya, which receives support from the Doen Foundation, aims to become a long-term project. 'It has a dynamic concept. After this initial phase, we will investigate possible partnerships,' says Jamine Zagel. ‘In any case, we hope that by 2006 most countries in Southern Africa will be involved in the project: countries that share the same social, economic and cultural context.'