Press Release: Wednesday, September 1, 14:30 CAT | Source: WORLDART
Cape Town artist Juan Stockenstroom’s Afrofuturistic sentiment will be the focus of his solo exhibition that opens at the WORLDART gallery on 2 September. It also aligns with the art world’s adoption of NFTs: Six paintings will each be accompanied by an NFT designed by him.
For many people the concept of Afrofuturism seems self-explanatory and refers to iconic movies like Black Panther and the music of Sun Ra. But this is just the beginning of the story.
Afrofuturism is an artistic movement blending science fiction, fantasy, Black history and contemporary culture to imagine a fresh Black future — a perspective heralded by black communities across the world.
Why is the Afrofuturist’s voice relevant? Would it differ from the average futurist? Is it important? Absolutely. The historical struggle to exist, the battle to be treated humanely and the pursuit of equality is ongoing – this is the source of the Afrofuturist’s view. It’s a vision considering the past, present and future that resides in the mainstream’s blind spots.
“If Afrofuturism is fiction that addresses Black themes and concerns through images of technology and the future combined with mythologies and histories of ancient African civilisations, then as an African artist living on the continent of Africa, I feel excited to explore this theme from a slightly different perspective.
For example, throughout the recent Covid global pandemic the vaccine availability response to the African continent seemed to be one that was bitter-sweet. The fact that many states in the US were living somewhat in a futuristic parallel plane with economies functioning, full capacity stadiums at sports events, and high numbers of vaccinated people no longer having to follow Covid protocols gave the impression that the US looked like a Utopia, even though this was all happening in the present. At the same time In South Africa the polar opposite reality of slow vaccine rollouts, high levels of rioting and looting on a national level, and of course high numbers of daily infections and death rates, resembled somewhat more of a Dystopia. So it is in this polarity between the two concepts of Utopia and Dystopia that this project is strongly rooted. Not so much in its aesthetic but more so in asking the question of what the future for an African, living on the African continent, looks like?” – Juan Stockenstroom.
The NFT connection
For those that still feel slightly perplexed when NFTs or non-fungible tokens get mentioned: It is a digital unit (image, sound or video) stored via blockchain technology – this unit or token is now unique or non-fungible. The technology NFTs use ensure all the relevant information about the artwork is stored in the token. NFTs cannot be manipulated or hacked because blockchain technology is a storage system involving a complex network of millions of computers – only if all the computers agree the data is correct, the token is usable. This means the digital file is now a commodity that can be traded by its owner or creator. So even though anybody can see it on their devices, only one person can own or trade it.
WORLDART was the first art gallery in Africa to sell an NFT and on 2 September will also launch a platform where art lovers can view and buy NFT’s by the gallery’s artists. NFTs attach an unique smart contract to each work stipulating the ownership and transaction details that is especially relevant to future transactions. For this exhibition buyers will be able to view and bid on the NFTs on WORLDART’s website. The highest bid will acquire a package that includes both the painting and the corresponding NFT.
The works will also be shown at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair Digital Event taking place from 17-19 September and the last day of this event will also be the day bidding for the artworks will close.
Gallery director and curator Charl Bezuidenhout says: ‘’Blockchain technology provides an excellent opportunity to increase artists’ reach. Working with a talented and inquisitive artist like Juan Stockenstroom on this innovative exhibition, is a privilege.’’
The physical exhibition opens 2 September on First Thursdays when art galleries in the Cape Town CBD stay open till 8pm and will run till Thursday 30 September.
Watch this video interview with Juan Stockenstroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kFaEH1CMsk
Juan Stockenstroom (b. 1982) lives and works in Cape Town. After completing a diploma at City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts in 2002 he moved to London where he worked as a photographic assistant and completed a course in life drawing at St Martins College.
In 2011 he returned to South Africa and started a successful company that specialised in digital design solutions for corporate clients. In 2018 he started painting fulltime, focussing on themes around his upbringing and experiences as a person of mixed race and heritage in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa.
His current subject matter explores the field of Afrofuturism:
• 2002 City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts, South Africa
• 2010 Central St Martins, London, United Kingdom
• 2020 Gold, Guns and Paradise – Berman Contemporary – Johannesburg
• 2018 PH Centre – Photography Gallery, Cape Town – South Africa
Selected Group Exhibitions:
• 2019 RMB Turbine Art-fair – Candice Berman Gallery – South Africa
• 2018 Common Denominator – Alliance Francais Du Cap -South Africa
• 2017 Thread Count – Unseen Amsterdam, Netherlands
• 2017 Nuit de l’Année at Les Rencontres d’Arles – France
• 2014 Cape Town – Month of Photography – South Africa
• 2018 Art Africa – Bright Young Things
• 2017 IPOY Award – Fine Art – 2nd Winner – Silver
• 2013 Colour Awards – Honourable Mentions – Fine Art
• 2013 Colour Awards – Honourable Mentions – Portraiture
• 2012 Lucies International Photographic Awards – Honourable Mention – Fine Art
• 2012 Lucies International Photographic Awards – Honourable Mention
For more information, contact Charl Bezuidenhout at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +27 (0)21 423 3075 or visit www.worldart.co.za
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This article is a Press Release received from WORLDART. Global Crypto did not receive any form of compensation for its publication, and as this material is deemed newsworthy for the Southern African blockchain industry, it was thus published accordingly.