The Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt/Main has been collecting contemporary African art since 1974; its collection now comprises some 3,000 artworks. The exhibition “A Labour of Love” featured South African works from this collection along with current artistic productions from South African artists who examined these historic pieces from various angles. The majority of these historic works was created in the mid-1980s when outbreaks of violence between anti-Apartheid organisations and the white-controlled South African government led to a national state of emergency. In 1986, the Weltkulturen Museum purchased works exclusively by black artists as a statement against Apartheid. These included artworks by Peter Clarke, David Koloane, Sam Nlengethwa and John Muafengejo, all of whom have gained international acclaim since.

In this project highlighting its South African art collection, the Weltkulturen Museum teamed up with the Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg. The lecturer, curator and artist Gabi Ngcobo worked closely with the students and also produced new works of her own for the exhibition. To this end, she and the artist Sam Nlengethwa were invited to the “Weltkulturen Labor”, a laboratory of experimental and interdisciplinary research. From there, the artists explored the special history of the collection in the context of German-South African relations prior to the so-called “Global Turn” of 1989.

A bilingual publication accompanied the exhibition on its tour of selected venues in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Artistic directors: Yvette Mutumba (DE) and Gabi Ngcobo (ZA)

With: Farzana Badsha (ZA), Sam Nlengethwa (ZA), Ciraj Rassool (ZA) and Chad Codeiro, Michelle Monareng, Nathaniel Sheppard, Matselane Xhakaza (Wits School of Arts, ZA)

Schedules dates

Cape Town: winter 2016/17
South Africa

Johannesburg: autumn 2017
South Africa

TURN – Fund for Artistic Co­oper­a­tion between Ger­many and African Coun­tries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund


Weltkulturen Museum

Schaumainkai 29-37

60594 Frankfurt am Main