African Gold: Appropriations and Misappropriations of Culture

11 September

Presented by:

  • Dr Sian Tiley-Nel: Head of the University of Pretoria Museums
  • Christopher Till: Curatorial Director at the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria

Moderated by:

  • Siseko Kumalo: Editor, Journal of Decolonising Disciplines


Cultural identity, arguably, is closely associated with people’s relationship to land and the natural resources therein. By interrogating heritage, cultural identity and access to resources (such as land and derivative minerals, i.e. iron and gold), we consider a series of questions that reflects on the two gold collections housed in the Javett-UP Gold of Africa Tower.

We reflect on three things:

  • How do cultural institutions acquire their collections?
  • What are the implications of removing certain cultural artefacts from their local communities?
  • What is the justificatory reasoning behind such appropriations?

As part of this reflection we analyse how the search for resources has caused land dispossession(s) across the globe, necessitating a certain criticality vis-à-vis the ethics of aesthetic curations. Simply, what is the role of art institutions in light of the attendant violence that accompanies cultural artefact acquisition?

Join us via Zoom:

https://zoom.us/j/92110230355?pwd=dU5mYjNVb0VRMVRFZm5EUENBRFlxZz09

Meeting ID: 921 1023 0355

Passcode: 902210