Assemblage’s overarching objective is to create a space (both physical and metaphorical) for artists to network and to gain the skills they need in professional development to sustain their careers as artists. Assemblage hopes to build and encourage artistic entrepreneurs, thereby encouraging job creation within the arts.
Assemblage’s activities are open to serious artists who are energetic, proactive individuals and are looking to create sustainable careers in the arts. Assemblage is especially interested in encouraging and working with previously disadvantaged artists. To this effect, its various activities remain as accessible and inclusive as possible, with many activities being offered free of charge or at a very low cost.
Our Vision: To be a viable and sustainable organization that has a positive impact on the visual arts community and enables artists to be their best.
Our Mission: To be the Central Hub (through sharing, connecting, participating) for the Johannesburg visual arts community, in promoting professionalism, excellence and innovation.
Our Goal: To engender and inspire a dynamic, vibrant and inclusive forum for the visual arts community.
Assemblage has been a registered non profit Trust since early 2012 (I/T: 3261/2011 | NPO Registration No. 128-668 | PBO No. 930 040 065).
Currently Assemblage has three trustees who are responsible for the trust, ensuring trust objectives are met and all reporting completed.
The trustees are Anthea Pokroy, Lakin Morgan-Baatjies and Louise Van Der Bijl.
More about the trustees:
Louise Van Der Bijl
Assemblage set up an advisory board to assist with decision making at the beginning of 2017.
The advisory board is: Bettina Malcomess, Gilbert Pooley, Gontse Mathabathe, Hilton Lawler, Khehla Chepape Makgato and Rolihlahla Mhlanga.
More about the advisory board:
Bettina Malcomess is writer, artist and curator. She does performance work under the name Anne Historical. Malcomess’ work exists in a diverse set of media and forms, ranging from long duration theatrical performances, to the staging of shorter performative interventions, and more complex installation projects that unfold in specific contexts, to the book as site of practice. Her research and writing traverse the fields of art, film, history, urbanism and ethnography. She co-authored the book Not No Place. Johannesburg, Fragments of Spaces and Times (Jacana, 2013). She is the visual editor ofRoutes and Rites to the City: Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in Johannesburg (Palgrave, 2016). Her work has shown at La Maison Rouge, Paris (2013), Dak'art Biennale (2016), the Johannesburg Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2015) and at the Padiglione de Arte Contemporanea (PAC), Milan (2017).
Gilbert Pooley is passionate about creative education and social change. He is the co-managing director of Umuzi, a Jo'burg based organsation which is transforming the creative industry by improving access to the creative education and careers.
Gontse Mathabathe is a Johannesburg-based curator, researcher, and artist. She is currently studying towards a Masters degree in History of Art, with a focus on curating and African art collections. She completed a Bachelors degree in Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2015. As a writer and historian, she has developed a particular interest in African art, African traditional and contemporary fashion as well as other textile industries. Her research paper Tracking the Imprints Layered on Ma Xhosa Jerseys: An Investigation of the MaXhosa by Laduma Brand and IsiXhosa Beadwork (2015), an investigation of the trajectories of beadwork from “traditional” contexts into the contemporary fashion industry, has shaped her interests in the material and wax print cultures of Southern Africa. In her ongoing MA research, Mathabathe seeks to expand on the trajectories of African garments, with a specific focus on the modifications and transformations that Southern African ”traditional” garments have undergone due to an influx and integration of other African cultures and the influence of globalisation and international fashion trends.
Hilton Lawler is a previous BASA Award winner, having being named Mentor of the Year at both the 2010 and 2013 (for Assemblage) awards. He has built an extensive and successful career in various multi-national packaging, FMCG and retail organisations and currently holds a senior Marketing Manager’s position within Coca Cola. Lawler has gained experience and held operations and business development responsibility for East and Central African and Indian Ocean countries (23 countries), being based in Nairobi, Kenya, for two years. His areas of expertise are operations management, strategy development, business development, marketing and brand management as well as communications.
Khehla Chepape Makgato is a Johannesburg-based independent artist and arts writer, formerly contributing articles to ART AFRICA and The Journalist. He works at Assemblage Studios and is the founder of Samanthole Creative Projects & Workshop, a community-based art organisation focusing on arts and literacy youth programmes. Chepape is the ImpACT Award WINNER for Visual Arts 2016 from the Arts and Culture Trust of South Africa and The Mapungubwe Visual Artist of The Year 2016. Among his recent projects that he is working on includes Khehla Chepape Makgato – The Honorary Artwork Legacy Prize (KCM – THALEP) aimed at celebrating great South African citizens who have made outstanding contributions to the society across fields for development and empowerment of others. He is a patron of Khehla Chepape Makgato Reading Centre in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo province – the newly reading initiative established by the principal of Ngwamorei Secondary School in honor of Chepape and his passion and dedication for rural community arts and literacy development. He worked at David Krut Art Resources from early 2010 till mid-2011, assisting in the printmaking workshop and in the bookstore / gallery. This led to participation in special printmaking projects with visiting artists. He has also worked part time at Sharon Sampson Studio as a collaborative printer, curator and studio technician from 2011 to 2013. He was a guest facilitator of the rural schools holiday arts programme at the Lefika La Phodiso Art Therapy Centre in 2014. Chepape has won Art Across Oceans Residency for 2016 where the residency took place in Johannesburg and Chicago. He established Samanthole Art Residency in April 2017
Rolihlahla Mhlanga's practice as a curator is based in Johannesburg. He is the recently appointed Curatorial Project Manager of the Assemblage project space, in Ferrais Dorp. After a succcessful showcase of the Fresh Produce exhibition at last year's Turbine Art Fair. Mhlanga will be curating yet another group show. The Fresh Produce 2017 exhibition is a culmination of the Artist Career Development Programme developed by Assemblage in partnership with the Visual Arts Network of South Africa, Business and Arts South Africa and the Turbine Art Fair presented by Rand Merchant Bank Talent Unlocked. Rolihlahla will be curating an exhibition comprised of 15 individual artists. Each of the artists deals with a thematic of their own choosing. However, Roli's role has been to provide support to their individual processes and help mediate between the artist and his/her work with the mentorship of Pat Mautloa, Thenjiwe Nkosi and Simon Gush. Mhlanga advocates for the development of the township creative economy, creating access to artists work and audience development. He is the co founder of Eyethu Gallery and former Head Curator where he saw to to the successful mounting of several exhibitions and commissioned to curate a group showcase as part of the 8th International Gorée Diaspora Festival in Dakar, Senegal by the National Arts Council, in late 2016.
Assemblage has a small team working closely together to help Make Art Happen
Currently the following people are working with Assemblage
New Business Director: Kim Sanssoucie
Peer Mentoring and Artist Career Development Coordinator: Fleur de Bondt
Admisinistration and ACD assistance: Mmabatho Grace Mokalapa
More about staff:
Fleur de Bondt is an artist and arts administrator. Since her emergence into the art industry in 2013, she has shown work at galleries including: The Art Room, Constitution Hill, Jo Anke Gallery, ABSA Gallery, Hazard, KKNK, Turbine Art Fair, and Joburg Art Fair. She dabbles in mixed media collage, drawing and printmaking; combining drawing (using mixed media) and lino tiles to create mono-type prints. de Bondt has been part of the Assemblage team since 2013, she runs the peer mentoring programme and is the Coordinator of the TAF17 Fresh Produce Artist Career Development Programme. She works from her studio at Assemblage in Newtown, Johannesburg.
Mmabatho Grace Mokalapa studied Visual Arts at the University of Witwatersrand and graduated in 2015 with a BA Degree in Fine Arts. She joined Assemblage later that same year as one of three recipients of the Studio Bursary from The African Arts Trust. Since then she has been working with Assemblage, from her studio, as an independent artist and administrator while still participating in multiple group shows at spaces such as HAZARD Gallery, Constitutional Hill, Lizamore & Associates, ABSA, Twilsharp Studios and the Turbine Art Fair to name a few.