South African Cultural Observatory

A curator with an academic streak - Gabi Ngcobo

BY 30.08.19

This month we celebrate Gabi Ngcobo, an independent curator, creative researcher and educator who was the curator of the tenth Berlin Biennale for contemporary art in Germany. Ngcobo, who teaches at the With School of Arts joined an illustrious list of past curators of the Berlin Biennale, among them Hans Ulrich Obrist and Ute Meta Bauer. Before Berlin she did curatorial work in Sao Paulo and Cape Town. She is also the founder of Center for Historical Re-enactments

A curator, a word taken from Latin that means to ‘take care’, is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g. gallery, museum, library, or archive) is a content specialist charged with an institution's collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material. 

As a curator, Ngocobo explains in an interview with the SABC that when she was appointed curator of the Berline Biennale, her responsibility included identifying artists who would be part of the Biennale, doing research and collaborating with other specialists, identifying and finding venues for the exhibitions.

She says she is interested in historical narratives, and how artists and people are shaped by historical events, and how they interpret and reflect on modern and current events.  

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