Gallery draws on great creators
WHILE the newly opened Norval Foundation gallery in Steenberg is bold architecturally, its strength is not in its physicality, but its diverse curatorial team.
Norval’s performance artist multidisciplinary team comprises musician Kyle Shepherd alongside performance artist Khanyisile Mbongwa, who last year was part of the curatorial team for public arts festival Infecting the City.
Also part of the team are academics Karel Nel, an associate professor at the Wits University arts school and Portia Malatjie, a former gallery director of the Association for Visual Arts.
Norval’s executive director, Elana Brundyn, also has a solid track record in the arts fraternity, adding to its credibility as an institution. She was founder of the commercial Brundyn Gallery and spent the past two decades working in the arts.
During a walkabout through Norval’s gallery rooms, restaurant, sculptures and other features, Brundyn elaborated on the plans.
The non-profit gallery space has been operating for only two weeks and its debut shows indicate an appetite for variety.
“We have local, African and beyond, anything that we find our communities will relate to,” said Brundyn.
“It helps a lot that our curatorial team is diverse. Everybody has a strong voice. It’s not one voice. Curatorial meetings have everybody coming with ideas. That’s where the interesting conversations are.”
The curatorial team’s inten- tion to intervene with provocations and elicit conversations is meanwhile evident.
“We are in an art-loving city. We want to put up great exhibitions and be a platform where our artists are proud to exhibit,” she said.
The newly opened Steenberg-based gallery also features a restaurant named after local artist Cecil Skotnes.