After auction, satisfaction, for making art more inclusive


After auction, satisfaction, for making art more inclusive

Michaelis School of Fine Art is actively trying to open up the art world to those who cannot afford it

Pearl Boshomane Tsotetsi

Transformation, diversity and inclusivity have been hot topics in SA since the dawn of our democracy. Whether we’re talking about transforming certain sports or boardrooms, we’re a country obsessed – and rightfully so – with correcting the wrongs of the past, of equalising our society as much as possible.
A sector that has long needed to be more inclusive is the art world – but how can we transform the art world if art education remains accessible largely to the privileged?
The foremost art school in SA, the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art, is actively trying to open up the art world to those who cannot afford it with its Siyakhula Michaelis Auction (which takes place on Wednesday in Cape Town).
At the auction the works of established and emerging artists will be sold to raise funds that “will be used towards substantial scholarships for promising students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who are in financial need, ensuring greater diversity at the university”. Berni Searle, director of Michaelis, writes in the auction catalogue: “This imperative was made more urgent in the wake of the #FeesMustFall movement, which highlighted the correlation between an institutional deficit in terms of racial diversity and a lack of funding for poorer students. This, along with a decline in government funding for higher education, has impeded transformation not only within universities but has deepened racial inequality in our country.”
The auction has works by impressive names including Jane Alexander, David Goldblatt, Mikhael Subotzky, Moshekwa Langa, Banele Khoza, Georgina Gratrix, Penny Siopis, Deborah Bell, Lisa Brice, Richard Baholo, Athi-Patra Ruga, Pippa Skotnes and Zanele Muholi.
The live auction takes place on October 17 at 7pm at UCT’s Hiddingh Campus, while the online auction (which opened last week) ends on October 18. Go here for the online auction. And here for the live auction.

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