Emeka Udemba, “Closed Space,” 2011. Exhibition view at Goethe-Institut South Africa, Johannesburg. Photo: Akona Kenqu
Goethe-Institut, Germany’s globally active cultural institute, encourages international cultural cooperation, promotes knowledge of the German language abroad and conveys a comprehensive image of Germany. It also aims to foster a deeper understanding between cultures.
Goethe-Institut engages in a dialogue rooted in partnership, acting with no political affiliations. There are presently more than 150 Goethe-Instituts worldwide in eighty-three countries, and eleven institutes are located in sub-Saharan Africa. The latter are coordinated and headed by the Goethe-Institut South Africa, situated in Johannesburg, as are the fourteen Goethe centers across the sub-Saharan African continent. Our focus is on sustainable development in the cultural fields.
GoetheonMain is the interdisciplinary project space of the Goethe-Institut in the inner city of Johannesburg. It serves as a platform for exhibitions, performances, workshops, and other art projects. A jury of local art professionals selects the projects.
Even now, the cultural segregation in Johannesburg still influences both artists and the public alike. A large part of the white minority avoids the trip to downtown. Likewise, very few blacks attend art events in the wealthy suburbs. The Goethe-Institut wants to extend the cultural dialogue by adding a central space to its headquarters on Jan Smuts Avenue in the middle of town: GoetheonMain. It is a space that aims to encourage exchange between artists and spectators of various origins.