Art is as much part of Spier as good food and fine wine are. We believe that the visual arts are a powerful tool for transformation – sparking new insights and inspiring us to engage with our world in new and imaginative ways. We support and stimulates the arts community in South Africa through projects that honour our African arts heritage and enriches its future.

One of these is Occupants of the Inhabited, an exhibition featuring leading South African artists, curated by Kefiloe Siwisa in collaboration with Spier Arts Trust, currently on show at our Manor House.

Works by artists including Athi Patra-Ruga, Billie Zangewa, Thandiwe Msebenzi, and Igshaan Adams will be showcased for a year in this historic space, along with excerpts from interviews with some of the featured artists.

“In a sense, the selected artists become occupants, the building’s second skin,” explains Siwisa. “The works have been selected to challenge the Manor House’s spatial history, exploring and acknowledging the physical and psychological impact of colonial architecture and how it sits in this moment of postcolonial movement, making, and transformations.”

The works invite viewers to consider the complexities of heritage preservation, recent appropriations, and repurposing of colonial sites.

Siwisa adds: “These works cannot be asked to heal the spirit of the place but rather they can bear witness to the weight of the past and carry new dialogues into the present.”

FEATURED ARTISTS
Athi Patra-Ruga | Ayana V Jackson | Billie Zangewa | David Koloane | Cinga Samson | Heidi Sincuba (performance) | Igshaan Adams | John Murray | Restone Maambo | Thandiwe Msebenzi

CURATORIAL STATEMENT
Kefiloe Siwisa - in collaboration with the Spier Arts Trust


The land is an archive; it remembers itself. How do we inhabit a written territory? With a gable that was built in 1822, Spier’s Manor House carries with it a history that cannot be erased or merely overridden — nor should it be. The remnants of the voiced and unvoiced past remain in the walls and floors. How do we engage with this charged environment, connecting to its joys and traumas and layers in-between?

Occupants of the Inhabited sees selected artists (their thoughts) and their practices inhabiting the Manor House for a year. In a sense, they become its occupants, the building’s second skin. The works have been selected to challenge the Manor House’s spatial history, exploring and acknowledging the physical and psychological impact of colonial architecture and how it sits in this moment of postcolonial movement, making, and transformations. These works may move us to consider the complexities of heritage preservation, recent appropriations, and repurposing of colonial sites. They cannot be asked to heal the spirit of the place but rather they can bear witness to the weight of the past and carry new dialogues into the present.

This exhibition is accompanied by a series of texts from interviews with some of the featured artists. The writings and programming aim to deepen critical engagement with the works and their setting, offering a reminder that objects are like vessels: they contain a well of stories that move beyond the walls.

The Manor House is also a meeting space, and open daily from 08:00 - 17:00. See the available viewing dates here.

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