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Stellenbosch Triennale, a Bold Experiment

It was a study in contrasts at the recent debut of the Stellenbosch Triennale, an art fair geared toward showcasing the Pan-African works.  In the white, privileged birthplace of apartheid, it was incongruous to see the works of black artists showcased, but attendees applauded the sense of hope, goodwill, and energy that ensued.  It’s an unexpected place for a contemporary art exhibition — particularly of the experimental, pan-Africanist variety, with artists from around the continent, none of them white, exploring economic and cultural themes led by a curator steeped in black feminism and Xhosa spirituality. Stellenbosch is an hour’s drive from Cape Town, and the triennale underscores the region’s emergence as a global art hub. Cape Town’s art fair is Africa’s biggest; the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which opened in 2017, and the Norval Foundation’s art museum, from 2018, are world-class venues.