All in a Day’s Eye...

Javett Workshop 105
A banner with the words ‘THEY WILL NEVER KILL US ALL’, created by the collaborative platform The Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR) in 2012. The banner makes direct reference to a protest banner seen in the late Alf Kumalo’s photograph taken on 21 March 1985 during a demonstration marking the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960.

All in a Day’s Eye: The Politics of Innocence in the Javett Art Collection is a curatorial project that foregrounds the exhibition format as a continuous thinking system. This was achieved by, among other things, altering the exhibition space with additional diagonal walls.

These additional walls are meant to encourage and facilitate experiences that are not always seen from one perspective from one audience member to another. In this way the walls are there to encourage dialogues in which differing views can lead to productive tensions that in turn can contribute towards a critical learning process. The curatorial project considers how, to borrow from Jacques Rancière (The Politics of Aesthetics), “images are the object of a twofold question: the question of their origin (and consequently their true content) and the question of their end or purpose, the uses they are put to and the effects they result in”. All in a Day’s Eye considers how art and its histories can affect our understanding of present political realities and how they have been shaped by the past.

In order to encourage and facilitate these dialogues the curator and research team of All in a Day’s Eye have designed a series of public programmes that are meant to engage individuals from different experiences and backgrounds.

In March 2020, the curator and research collaborators of All in a Day’s Eye: The Politics of Innocence in the Javett Art Collection unveiled the first in a series of activations that will transform the exhibition space into process-based activities and interventions. These activities will allow critical exploration that will potentially lead to the next phase of engagements with the Javett Family Collection.

Phase one of the public programme – and an ongoing initiative – replaced five selected artworks in the Javett Family Collection by objects, texts and other artistic interventions that respond to the exhibition in a direct, dialogical and critical way. This phase will help facilitate future curatorial interpretations of the collection and will further provide the collection with archival material that can be used by researchers and members of the public requiring more information on specific works and on All in a Day’s Eye as an inaugural exhibition.

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The blackboard intervention that has been introduced to be the main site of ongoing visualised dialogues activated by the exhibition and its themes. The blackboard acts as means of recording, documenting, erasing in order to re-record the continuity of dialogue called upon through the curatorial gestures performed in this exhibition. Nothing is etched in stone, everything is questionable and therefore the exhibition is never static but remains open to dialogue.
Javett Workshop 073
T-shirt bearing the words ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’. Students from Wits University Fine Art Department created the t-shirt as an object of protest during the height of the 2016 national #FeesMustFall protests.
Javett Workshop 124
A fabric work that also functions as a banner, created by Simnikiwe Buhlungu, titled and reading ‘WE’RE NOT MAKING THIS UP!’ (2016)