Fellow: History Department, MA
For the mini-thesis component of the structured MA in History I am working on a project that will trace the origin of the Albie Sachs’ Mozambique Art Collection during the years of collecting the individual pieces that constituted this then private collection (1978 to 1988 in Maputo, Mozambique), to the donation of the collection by Albie Sachs to the Collections at University of the Western Cape (UWC) and its subsequent joint management by the Mayibuye Archive and Collections and Robben Island Museum. The study hopes to explore aesthetics, politics and materiality in understanding the constitution and management of this significant collection by situating its history in the wider private art collection practice of Albie Sachs and the wider institutional histories of the organizations currently responsible for the collection. What is the relationship between ideas and objects and subjectivity in collecting practices? What is its relationship with history, with memory, with re-collecting, and ultimately with curatorial practice? What role has art historically played at the University of the Western Cape and in the anti-apartheid archive that Mayibuye was intended to be and what role has the display and production of art played in the genesis of the Robben Island Museum and its inscription as a World Heritage Site? This study will form the basis for a recommendation around resuscitating a sustainable public art policy at the University of the Western Cape and the desire for a more comprehensive postgraduate offering in curatorial studies at this University.