Some time has elapsed since the gathering in Johannesburg. It still seems too soon to reflect fully on the event. It will be very interesting to see what emerges. It’s a challenge to maintain contact across time zones and cultures, but I’m hoping that we can build on the gathering in a substantial way.
One certain outcome of the gathering is a great expectation of what south-south exchange might bring. As an Australian, it seemed that we couldn’t match the scope of the craft sector, certainly in size. But we do have a quite evolved cultural infrastructure which consists of organisations and policies. Now that South Africa is continuing its process of Black Empowerment, it seems a good opportunity to offer support through knowledge and skills transfer. This is particularly relevant to the practice of putting craft objects in art galleries.
It seems that this kind of partnership in developmental activities might be of particular relevance right now. One of the many sayings that was circulating around the gathering was numbo liya kade – ‘magic takes time’. We shouldn’t expect exhibitions and publications to appear magically as a result of the gathering. But we know have the beginning of a history that we can evolve across the south. The real work begins!