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Post-apartheid Public Art in Cape Town: Symbolic Reparations and Public Space

Zayd Minty
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Zayd Minty: Zayd Minty is an independent cultural producer/curator, B1 Hopeville Mansions, Hopeville Street Gardens, Cape Town 8001, South Africa, one@cultproduct.co.za

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 2, 421-440

Abstract: This essay considers public art practice in post-apartheid Cape Town within the notion of symbolic reparations-a concept deriving out of South Africa's Trust Reconciliation Commission. The paper situates developments in public arts practice in the context of developments in cultural politics in South Africa and globally. More especially, it discusses new genre arts projects, which focus on a range of issues related to identity, space and place. The projects-the District Six Museum, District Six Sculpture Project, PTO, Y30, BLAC, Returning the Gaze, and the In Touch Poetry Bus Tour-focus on issues such as rethinking monuments, the memorialising of 'hidden histories', engagements with racism and the abuse of power, and the reimagining of the city. The paper asks how these contemporary and often ephemeral projects, critically engage with issues of history, geography, memory and transformation and, in so doing, mark the landscape of Cape Town, making spaces for dialogue and/or standing as poetic symbols and challenges to the inequalities of the city.

Date: 2006
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