PUMA.CREATIVE TRIP TO ART BASEL & DOCUMENTA 13
three winners from Creative South America Network , Creative Caribbean Network and Creative Africa Network
Report; PUMA LOTTERY PAID UP TRIP
‘ART Basel’ , Basel ,Switzerland and ‘Documenta 13’, Kassel, Germany.
When the email announcement came , I was at Matero Girls High School in the art teachers office, I thanked Mr Lombe Nsama for facilitating this lottery. I actually applied from the same art teachers office, when I had come to give art presentation of my work to art students. I was given an opportunity to use the internet and it is from there that I make this important reference, in the use of IT in schools. I used the IT School room for presentation, and I cherished this combination that e learning was being encouraged through investment of bringing IT facilities close to students and society of George , Lilanda , Matero and Chunga residentials. I am proud to be associated in this professional development, I was interacting with the Matero Girls High School Art teachers who seem to be very committed in strengthening the Zambia National Art Teachers Association through there active roles.
PUMA LOTTERY TRIP APPLICATION
Out of this situation resulted into the development of winning the PUMA lottery trip to Art Basel , in Basel , Switzerland and dOCUMENTA 13, in Kassel, Germany, because I simply applied through internet. I responded to an email circulation to Creative Africa Network login members of which I am a member. My membership URL link can be accessed on http://www.creativeafricanetwork.com/person/7224/en . Only those having URL links on the CAN website were eligible to apply and the lottery was a paid up trip to Switzerland and Germany, with 3 winners representing three regions Africa, South America and Caribbean.
THE 3 PUMA LOTTERY TRIP WINNERS
These are two global art events, come in the summer time, attracts the who is who in the multi million euro art industry, both in traditional and contemporary art market. I won for the Creative African Network, while Argentinean born international art curator / art consultant, Gabriela Salgado won for Creative Latin American Network , and Rafael Vargas Bernard performance artist/ gallery technician/ computer engineer from Puerto Rico won for the Creative Caribbean Network. This information can be sourced from the PUMA.CREATIVE site on Creative Africa Network link. All the artists profiles are available on the PUMA.CREATIVE site.
THE PUMA LOTTERY TRIP EXPERIENCE;
art basel, Basel , Switzerland.
We were all met at Ibis Hotel in Saint Louis ( the French part of Basel ),on 14th June, 2012, by PUMA.CREATIVE Assistant Curator Owen Martin. Later we had lunch and dinner with Mark Coetzee the PUMA.CREATIVE Curator. The VAC book Art In Zambia was presented to Mark Coetzee and gave other small publications to members of the function. It was at these two functions that we learned something about PUMA.CREATIVE philosophy of assisting artists development, more closely related to artists mobility. The trip was the lottery itself , the return air ticket , train tickets, entry to Art Basel and dOCUMENTA, and hotel acommodation as there was no any other monetary reward attached to it, except for transport and food only.
Art Basel is collective of various art galleries which come together to explore probably the biggest one stop global art market venues, which takes place at the Art Fair Hall , in the border city of Basel. It is located on the spot where three countries meet, France , Germany and Switzerland where the famous great Rhine river makes a huge turn going northwards into Germany from Switzerland. It was my first time ever to attend Art Basel. I was joined by the two other winners Gabriela Salgado and Rafael Vargars Bernard with whom we made a strong bond of friendship we later nicknamed MUNDO.
Art Basel brings together gallery owners and their collections for sale, a playground for art dealers, curators and cultural entrepreneurs. Big artists names range from Renoir, Picasso, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, John Chamberlain, Gerard Ritcher , Damien Hirst, Roy Lichenstein, Jeff Koons and many more names both past and living artists of the contemporary art world. Art trading is the norm for Art Basel, its buying and selling of art. There are also other venues which showcase art for art sake expressions. Touring Exhibition, performance Art, installation , video, sound and special effects art, like the Art Unlimited pavilion which hosted conceptual art related themes, art statements and art conversations with world renowned art movers and shakers and Art Basel - Design Miami pavilion was dedicated to utility design products. A special section of Art Unlimited was dedicated to Art Kids in action. There were educational visits for schools.
Venues like the Kunst Museum Basel was hosting paintings by Auguste Renoir, while the Fondation Beyeler was showing Jeff Koons, Pierre Bonnard and Edgar Degas. Others included the ART Parcour public art in the Parcour area of Basel along the banks of the Rhine River, VOLTA was another venue for more up coming contemporary art galleries, the Youth Art Expo was held at LISTE 17, Swiss Art Awards 2012. Art Basel was very strictly with photograph, except for Art Parcour. There is not much documentation for Art Basel, except through information provided on the brochure guides. All in all there were 43 of interlinked venues to the celebration of Art Basel Show piece, all the city’s cultural institutions were sighted on the map , hotel accommodation was full as reservation arrangements were made last year in 2011, just shows how the city benefits from the event with spill over effects to other sectors of the economy such as transport and restaurants.
The whole city becomes Art Basel. Art takes over the city of Basel. The commerce of city is transformed in the space on one week with art activities buzzing through out the city. The giant UBS Bank was the major sponsor and BMW the official transport sponsor of Art Basel, with a host of other associate sponsors such as Davidoff, Netjets, AXA Art Insurance, Baloise Group, Ruinart, Vitra, Swiss Air, Financial Times and The Art Newspaper.
As history explains Art Basel began 43 editions ago, from 14th to 17th June, an art fair started by major gallerists as a global art marketing initiative that attracted more than 100 galleries worldwide and several art initiatives. There was little time to consume everything in two days.
dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel , Germany.
On 17th June, 2012 a five hour train journey from Basel brought us to Kassel, central German town located on the border of former East German, with a deep historical involvement in the second world war as Germany’s arms industrial city. This is the birth place of Documenta, a premier Germany art show, with a global significance. Various careers of artists have been launched through dOCUMENTA which began in 1955, the main aim was to refresh German hospitality after the damages suffered during the second world war and to renew Kassel which almost completely bombed by the Allied Forces in 1945 because it was German’s centre for mechanical engineering and the defence industry. dOCUMENTA changed the whole city profile ever since, it has been held every after five years displaying the best of contemporary art world on the German soil.
dOCUMENTA is the single most important event that takes place in Kassel, the main event happens at the Fridericianum , and like Art Basel other major cultural institutions and public spaces become part of dOCUMENTA. The whole city literary is taken by art exhibitions featuring world top artists who are selected by a leading curator, from June to September with an estimated visitation of a million art lovers from around the world. We were part of the million visitors we were proudly told that it takes years to plan with a year before reserved for the production and setting up of the exhibitions around the city. The whole structure is connected or linked to dOCUMENTA in one way or another. Transport system, health, education, business, tourism, and generally municipality roles of the city of Kassel are programmed along the duration of dOCUMENTA, so advertisement is wide spread and information shared across the wide spectrum of the city.
As PUMA.CREATIVE Lottery Trip winners we maintained to view the Art Basel and dOCUMENTA together, hence creating the bond that finally was nicknamed Mundo meaning the world. Unlike Art Basel which we missed to see a number of venues, we covered almost 90% of dOCUMENTA ‘s major exhibition venues. It was great to see that William Kentridge a South African artist was the leading name of big name attraction to dOCUMENTA. They were also other notated African artists featuring, Algerian Kalder Attia, Zimbabwean Chiuri Kudzanai , South African Zanele Muholi, New York based Ethiopian artist Julie Mehrtu among many new faces of contemporary art exponents. dOCUMENTA was not so much a collectors show but a well balanced idealistic choice based on one curator, this time was Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA 13.
The exhibitions were given spaces that were good enough for the kind of work featuring in a particular environment with a particular theme and a particular curatorial arrangement. The intellectual output was well defined in the 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts which was the guiding theme for the Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA. It refers to Museum of 100 Days as dOCUMENTA was once called due to its three months duration. Other prominent headline artists were Pedro Reyes, Theaster Gates, Giusseppe Penone, Wael Shawky. As exhibition visitors we were only allowed at least to take still photographs without flash light and no video allowed. Collectively we enjoyed dOCUMENTA in every sense of the word, it was well organised like Art Basel, but had abundant view spaces. It is evident that dOCUMENTA has been the global launching pad of many world renowned artists careers into greatness from Ernst Barlach, Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, August Macke, Marc Chagall , Emil Nolde, Joseph Beuys, Damian Hirst to Ai Wei Wei and William Kentridge. In the climate of global financial meltdown, art here has never slowed down to show off its lucrative prowess.
Both Art Basel and dOCUMENTA were huge cultural investments to be staged in the present day struggling economy. The practical truth is that Basel and Kassel have grown because of the art events which draw a huge number of cultural tourists and big corporate sponsors.
First and foremost I would like to salute the National Arts Council of Zambia for the financial facilitation of my ground trip preparation, also the Zambia National Visual Arts Council VAC for the Art In Zambia publication and local transport. With special mention of the following individuals who assisted in my preparation are Nancy Mutambo, Stary Mwaba, Mulenga Chafilwa, Nsama Lombe, Vincentio Phiri, Ceciwa Banda, Stanely Mwanza , Adrian Ngoma and Eneless Naomi Chulu. Much more moral support I received from my dear wife Thandiwe and family at large. And last but not the least is Matero Girls High School Art Department.
Kenneth Zenzele Chulu
Artist / Cultural Activist