PRAF Participatory is an initiative to commission art projects from invited international artists that are developed with the participation of local art students. As part of its intend to supplement conventional pedagogical methods in art schools, this initiative is intended to facilitate engagement with internationally renowned artists, by immersing young artists in the making of a collaborative work of art that expands their understanding of their own practice. PRAF Participatory Programme is designed to encourage increased conversation between India and the global art scene. While residency programmes have become increasingly relevant to the arts in India with annual residency programmes that support Indian artists and curators in other countries to develop their practices there aren’t as many opportunities that focus on visits by prominent global figures to India with the sole purpose of continued dialogue with a broader segment of the local arts community. PRAF intends to bridge that gap by facilitating engagement for emerging artists with global figures within India. 

About the Artists

Sue Williamson was born in Lichfield, England in 1941. In 1948 she immigrated with her family to South Africa. Between 1963 and 1965 she studied at the Art Students League of New York. In 1983 she earned her Advanced Diploma in Fine Art from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town. In 2007 she received a Visual Arts Research Award from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C and in 2011, a Bellagio Creative Arts Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2013 she was a guest curator of the Summer Academy at the Paul Klee Museum in Bern. She lives and works in Cape Town. Williamson's work engages with themes related to memory and identity formation. Trained as a printmaker, Williamson has worked across a variety of media including archival photography, video, mixed media installations, and constructed objects. Her earlier work, such as Mementoes of District Six (1993), Out of the Ashes (1994), and R.I.P. Annie Silinga (1995), are a few early examples that convey her investment in the recuperation and interrogation of South African history. Williamson's ethical lens has expanded in more recent years to consider social issues on a more global scale, as in her work Other Voices, Other Cities, from 2009. Works from this series are in the Museum of the 21st Century, Louisville, Kentucky, and have been featured in a solo show at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia. For a Delhi edition of the series, Williamson was invited by the Prameya Foundation to work with a group of local students, and two days of intense discussion led to the contemplative statement, DELHI, WE KNOW YOU BUT WE DON’T KNOW YOU. The photographs were shot in a road near New Delhi station, and reflect the ever changing mix of cultures and people who inhabit the city. This work is shown for the first time on this exhibition. Williamson’s work is included in many international public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern and the V&A Museums in London, and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. She is also known for her writing on contemporary art, and is the author of Resistance Art in South Africa and South African Art Now. In 1997 she became founding editor of the website, an online journal on contemporary art in Africa, ArtThrob. Her own work is documented in the SKIRA publication, Sue Williamson: Life and Work

About the Exhibition

In this age of globalization, what does it mean to live in particular place? Why do the residents of a city choose to live there, and if there is one message that would express the essence of that city, what would it be? This is the question South African artist Sue Williamson has been exploring for the past three years, in an ongoing series entitled ‘Other Voices, Other Cities’. In each new city, Williamson works by setting up a workshop of young artists and other residents, and asking them talk about what distinguishes their city and the people of that city from any other. What is good, what is bad, what is peculiar? If the city has an image and an attitude what is it? At the end of the workshop, participants vote on the most popular statement. At a time when most of the world is frankly in a mess, the dialogue created by the residents of the different cities is engaging and revealing. Cities in the series so far are Havana, Johannesburg, London, Bern, Berlin, New York, Krakow, Naples, Istanbul and Hong Kong. Other cities like Beirut are in the planning. An important part of the works is the choice of location. It is this dialogue between the residents of the cities, revealed by their choice of statement, their clothes, their attitudes that give the series an arresting immediacy, an engagement with contemporary urban life.