From 2013 to 2016, Waza Art Centre, in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA) developed a joint project titled Revolution Room. The aim of the project was to reflect on artistic and new museum practices in and with communities at four different sites, three in the DRC and one in South Africa.
At each site, the project reflected on the social and spatial dynamics, the communities’ various modes of expression, the relationship to memory, and the latent and visible social tensions that defined each. The intention was to understand and reflect how these complexities can manifest and be expressed in public space through artistic practices. The process resulted in nine projects that developed a range of material used for exhibitions and/or public presentations in 2014 and 2015.
In South Africa, Revolution Room was located in Cosmo City, an urban area 35km outside of Johannesburg. The project culminated in four artist-led projects and one community-led project, which prioritised participation and continually reflected on ways to bring residents into the process.
Revolution Room was developed by VANSA, with Vaughn Sadie as the researcher and project manager. The project was funded by Arts Collaboratory, Doen Foundation, Goethe Institut and Pro Helvetia. Douglas Mothemane, Gladys Tlhapa, Kutloano Toko, Mpume Nombebe, Phashe Magagane and Seipati Hanong made up the core group of residents that played a central role, along with Sadie’s facilitation, in developing and running the community-led project.