Stellenbosch Triennale: On the Cusp

The electrifying On The Cusp exhibition features works by 14 young, up-and-coming contemporary African artists, and is part of the Stellenbosch Triennale that runs to 30 April 2020. The free exhibition, made possible by Distell, have been well received with several works drawing rave reviews. 


Conceptually, On The Cusp references the idea of the accumulated potential that an individual or generation possesses at a crucial interval of time – just before the onset of something great. The exhibition is one of Stellenbosch Triennale’s identifying exhibitions – a core part of the programme, initiated by chief curator Khanyisile Mbongwa.

The green splashes installed all over town identify where the different exhibitions are held.

She says: “On The Cusp takes into account future possibilities by engaging with new artists set to innovate in the African scene to come, as well as on the world stage. The exhibition follows the ethos of the Stellenbosch Triennale, as it ventures beyond the confines of the traditional, exposing fresh practices – aesthetic, conceptual, critical and/or material.”

Akoi-Jackson has upon the advice of a network of colleague practitioners across the continent, selected 14 African artists (6 of them as part of one collective) across a spectrum of techniques, methods and mediums and a host of genres.

On the Cusp curator Bernard Akoi-Jackson.

“For On The Cusp, it has been important to borrow from the ethics of Blaxtarlines Kumasi and take cognizance of realities in economics and politics; the human society in general and how these then work in ways that have impact beyond the human experience,” Akoi-Jackson explains.

“The exhibition adopts a strategy of deliberately mixing up stuff, being indifferent to any particular medium, material or genre as representative of the highest form of art practice. All media are considered as equally important, so long as the artists are respectful of them and dedicated to pursuing their choices.

“These young artists, and emerging voices, are very much into the Instagram culture, very much into the larger social media culture – but at the same time they may have to deal with old and protracted issues. So we approach those with a new urge. Old issues are not going away but the young people shouldn’t be burdened with them. They have their own burdens, their own agency. They are bearing contemporary burdens. And we experience this in On The Cusp.”

Distell is proud to be involved as sponsor, says Bridgitte Backman, Distell’s Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs. “For Distell, supporting arts and culture is viewed as an investment in our future, recognising how much our cultural life contributes to the health of our communities across the nation and, indeed, around the world. It showcases the rich global diversity of people and we believe in it as a deeply unifying force,” she states.

“On The Cusp is about revealing and unravelling the creative talents of tomorrow. Focused on emerging artists who have pushed their creative boundaries and arrive and sit on the cusp of beauty and magic through their work, it reflects Distell’s drive and ambition to be an African Champion, a dynamic business that appeals to a broad spectrum of Africans.”

On the Cusp Artists

  • ­    Aaron Samuel Mulenga (Zambia)
Aaron Samuel Mulenga (Zambia). Image courtesy of the artist
  • ­    Agnes Waruguru (Kenya)
Agnes Waruguru (Kenya), image by Christopher Littlewood
  • ­    Canon Rumanzi (Uganda)
Canon Rumanzi (Uganda). Self-portrait
  • ­    Indira Mateta (Angola)
Indira Mateta (Angola). Image by Bruno Fonseca
  • ­    Lazaro Samuel (Tanzania)
Lazaro Samuel (Tanzania). Image by Valerie Amani
  • ­    Malebona Maphutse (South Africa)
Malebona Maphutse (South Africa). Image by Boipelo Khunou
  • ­    Simnikiwe Buhlungu (South Africa)
Simnikiwe Buhlungu (South Africa). Image courtesy of the artist
  • ­    Valerie Fab-Uche (Nigeria)
Valerie Fab-Uche (Nigeria)
  • ­    Asafo Black Collective (Ghana) (including Daniel Mensah, Denyse Gawu-Mensah, Jeffrey Otoo, Larry Adorkor, Nuna Adisenu-Doe and Samuel Baah Kortey)

Where and when

Venue: Libertas Parva (Little Libertas), 25-33 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch

Opening hours:

Mondays: Closed

Tuesdays to Fridays: 10:00 to 18:00

Saturdays: 10:00 to 16:00

Sundays: 10:00 to 14:00

Visit www.stellenboschtriennale.com and https://stellenboschtriennale.com/on-the-cusp-artists/ to learn more.

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