Press Release

ARAK Collection Announces Distinguished Members of the ARAK Curatorial Advisory Committee

Mar 14, 2024
Press Release
Barnabas ticha muvhuti for arak collection

ARAK Collection is delighted to introduce the esteemed members of the ARAK Curatorial Advisory Committee, a dedicated team entrusted with overseeing the ARAK fellowship initiative. The committee’s primary role is to evaluate applications for the ARAK fellowship, offering valuable guidance and expertise in this significant endeavor. The ARAK fellowship committee comprises five prominent individuals who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, Heba Ekkayal, Tandazani Dhlakama, and Sven Christian, the chief curatorial consultants of the Norval Foundation, Zeitz MOCAA, and Nirox respectively. The other board members are the academic and curator, Thembinkosi Goniwe and author, Ashraf Jamal.

The ARAK Collection at present comprises 3800 works by 280 artists, spanning 28 countries. Housed in Doha, Qatar, it is certainly the largest collection of African art in the Gulf Region, and, as such, a key Afro-Asian cultural interface. The ARAK Collection supports young African writers and curators through its fellowship program, and, beyond the global fetish of ‘Contemporary African Art’, aspires to deepen interregional African cultural exchange. Knowledge growth is key, as is the careful calibration of indigenous and exogenous knowledge. While the artworld strives to maintain its northern hemispheric centres, the global south is as avidly redefining value for a radically changing world. The ARAK Collection and its board members are devoted to the continued strength of African creativity.

The ARAK Collection Annual Residency Fellowship Program is a cornerstone of the initiative aimed at enhancing the understanding of contemporary African art through in-depth research of the extensive works within its collection. The program invites resident guest curators and writers to engage in research, ultimately leading to the curation of exhibitions and the creation of exhibition catalogues and publications. These curatorial concepts are carefully reviewed and approved by the ARAK Collection Curatorial Advisory Committee. The Residency Fellowship Program aligns perfectly with ARAK Collection’s mission of nurturing and supporting emerging artists and curators, promoting curatorial research, publications, and exhibitions of their collection’s diverse works. All exhibitions produced by ARAK Collection are designed to be impactful and are accompanied by relevant public programming.

Meet the ARAK Committee Members

Ashraf Jamal: is the Writer-Researcher for ArtBankSA and a Research Associate in the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, University of Johannesburg. He has studied in the UK, Canada, the US, and taught in universities in South Africa, Malaysia, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Jamal is the former editor of Art South Africa and Art Africa. His is also the co-author of Art in South Africa: The Future Present, co-editor of Indian Ocean Studies: Social, Cultural, and Political Perspectives, and author of Predicaments of culture in South Africa.

Tandazani Dhlakama: Currently serving as curator at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art (Zeitz MOCAA) in Cape Town, Tandazani Dhlakama boasts over a decade of experience in the art industry, primarily in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Her remarkable curatorial projects and written contributions have played a pivotal role in major exhibitions..

Thembinkosi Goniwe: is an artist and art historian whose work explores contemporary African visual arts, postcolonial criticism, and radical black thoughts. His artworks have been exhibited locally and internationally. He has contributed essays to various publications and has curated exhibitions in South Africa, the United States, Venice, and Edinburgh. Trained in Fine Art at the University of Cape Town and in History of Art at Cornell University, Goniwe had taught at various South African universities and is currently lecturing Art and lectures Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University.

Heba El Kayal: A curator and writer from Cairo, Egypt. She specializes in modern and contemporary African and Middle Eastern art. She regularly consults for auction houses and private collectors, and works closely with emerging artists from the re-gion. She acquired a master’s degree in art history and curatorial studies from Columbia University in New York City, and has recently completed a law degree in London. Former chief curatorof the Norval Foundation in Cape Town.

Sven Christian: A versatile writer, editor, and curator, Sven Christian’s recent appointment as curator of NIROX Sculpture Park and the Villa-Legodi Centre for Sculpture attests to his dedication to the arts. His involvement in diverse exhibitions and publications showcases his passion for shaping the contemporary art discourse.