Nation building and globalisation in the visual arts: A case study of art projects of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council (GJMC)

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dc.contributor.author Duncan, Jane
dc.date.accessioned 2008-05-19T10:32:38Z
dc.date.available 2008-05-19T10:32:38Z
dc.date.issued 2008-05-19T10:32:38Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/4847
dc.description.abstract This thesis explores the tensions between nation building and globalisation in relation to state-sponsored visual arts projects, focusing on the Biennale project of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council (GJMC). It explores the extent to which this project - aimed initially at internationalising and then globalising South Africa’s art world following the demise of apartheid in 1994 - was compatible with key nation building objectives for state funding of the arts, captured imperfectly in the country’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). It is found that the Biennale project was largely not compatible with the RDP’s objectives for state funding, namely to promote national unity while respecting the country’s cultural diversity, redress imbalances of the past in access to the arts, and promote culture as a component of South Africa’s development, in spite of the GJMC’s statements to the contrary. Rather the Johannesburg Biennale reproduced the dialectic of economic inclusion and exclusion endemic to the political project of globalisation, leading to the creation of economic and artistic ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ akin to the ‘First World’ and ‘Third World’ divide that the RDP warned against in its principle on nation-building, and proved to be an inappropriate use of state resources given the divided nature of the South African artworld. Furthermore, the GJMC imported uncritically an exhibition form associated with the discourse of internationalisation in the first Biennale, and then globalisation in the second, from other Biennales, based on contestable theoretical positions on nationalism and globalisation. This they did in an attempt to address a growing financial crisis in the city by using a ‘one size fit all’ set of policy prescriptions falling under the rubric of neo-liberalism, including culture-led methods of enhancing a city’s global status to attract foreign revenue. In particular, the Biennale did not learn the lesson that the shift in focus in other Biennales from internationalisation to globalisation, was also accompanied by growing discontent in these countries about the elitist nature of these events. I also consider whether it is possible to devise an alternative Biennale project that uses international contact to unite the South African artworld, rather than dividing it. en
dc.format.extent 11497202 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject nation building en
dc.subject globalisation en
dc.subject RDP en
dc.subject Gear en
dc.subject Biennale en
dc.subject South African art en
dc.subject local government en
dc.subject Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council en
dc.subject Arts funding en
dc.subject Neo-liberalism en
dc.subject Postcolonialism en
dc.subject Arts and Culture Development en
dc.title Nation building and globalisation in the visual arts: A case study of art projects of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council (GJMC) en
dc.type Thesis en


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