The Stellenbosch Triennale: What To Expect

WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES courtesy of Stellenbosch Triennale

Over 50 artists from all around Africa will come together to showcase contemporary art at the inaugural Stellenbosch Triennale, running from 11 February to 30 April 2020.

Brainchild of the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust‘s Dr Mike Mavura, France Beyers, Michael van Wyk, Andi Norton and Elana Brundyn, the Stellenbosch Triennale is a non-commercial, multidisciplinary art platform set amidst the famed academia halls and historical vineyards of The Woodmill and its surrounding precinct that aims to make Stellenbosch a primary destination of multidisciplinary art in Africa.

“The Triennale turns Stellenbosch into a curated public laboratory for creative expressions and engagements in response to society’s questions now, then and there,” says says Dr Mike Mavura. “What kind of people do we want to be? What relations to nature do we cherish? What knowledge, and what technologies do we deem appropriate? What aesthetic values do we hold?”

The theme Tomorrow There Will Be More of Us informs seven multidisciplinary platforms to provide meeting points for engagement with the divided past, the collective present and imagined future.

Here’s what to expect:

The Curators’ Exhibition

Compiled by Chief Curator Khanyisile Mbongwa with Triennale co-curator Bernard Akoi-Jackson, this exhibition features works interpreting the theme by 20 artists from across Africa. Situated inside The Woodmill and on the surrounding precinct, this multidisciplinary art exhibition introduces visitors to the Triennale’s other exhibitions and installations.

The Curators’ Exhibition, Igshaan Adams, Threshold 2019.

On The Cusp

Curated by Dr Bernard Akoi-Jackson, On The Cusp is an exhibition of works by 10 young African artists. This exhibition focuses on young art practitioners that have proved themselves to be on the cusp of mastering their aesthetic, concepts and methods.

From The Vault

Forming part of the educational programme, From The Vault exhumes archives and historical acquisitions from Stellenbosch University and the University of Fort Hare to highlight buried museum collections’ functionality as integral resources for the contextualisation and mapping of contemporary society and culture. The curator’s statement asks, “What happens if we look at the vault through a speculative lens; if we suspend historical frameworks and adopt inter-subjective processes of meaning making? Can we speculate on Future history?”

Die Braak Pavilion

Gather at The Pavilion on Die Braak, a structure designed by award-winning architect Pieter Matthews, for informative talks, educational sessions and inspiring dialogue. The Pavilion itself will be an artwork, ephemeral in nature to highlight the ethos of the sponsor and curator while simultaneously speaking to social and environmental issues.

Concepts of Freedom Film Festival

Curated by Kenyan musician and filmmaker Silas Miami, Concepts of Freedom Film Festival will be shown throughout the town across indoor and outdoor venues. Divided into three parts: the visual art platform titled Concepts of Freedom — Film Meditation comprises retrospective work by two African contemporaries: Sunny Dolat and Athi-Patra Ruga; a feature films section consisting of six works; and a video art exhibition featuring the works of seven artists. Aspiring filmmakers, make sure not to miss workshops created specifically for you.

The Imaginarium

Accessed via the Triennale website, The Imaginarium is an online learning space that provides a supplementary, open-source (free) discovery/learning resource centre for learners of all ages.

Em-Bodied: Being & Becoming

Curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa, Bernard Akoi-Jackson and celebrated South African curator and choreographer Jay Pather, Em-Bodied: Being & Becoming uses location to create dialogue between history and architecture.

For more information, visit Stellenbosch Triennale’s website (, or follow Stellenbosch Triennale on Twitter (@stbtriennale), Instagram (@stellenboschtriennale) and Facebook (@StellenboschTriennale).