Image: Charles Darwin, Tree of Life, 1837 | Classmark: DAR 121 | Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library
SOUTH SOUTH’s inaugural Curatorial Projects titled I draw, therefore I think was curated by artist and curator Jitish Kallat. This drawing project was prompted by Charles Darwin’s 1837 sketch ‘Tree of Life’ in which he scribbled down a framework for his speculations in his first “transmutation notebook”.
One exhibition. Two ways to view.
I draw, therefore I think was viewable as an artwork-led viewing room and an interactive Miro board produced in collaboration with the Open Window Institute, allowing for multiple forms of engagement throughout the project’s duration.
The project closed on 24 November 2021, World Evolution Day, highlighting the project’s foundation; Charles Darwin’s sketch. This return to the foundation that guided the prompt and intent for the project allowed for a full circle reflection on the artworks and interventions that had been present throughout the project’s duration.
The project launched with a conversation between Siddhartha Mukherjee and William Kentridge, guided by Jitish Kallat. The conversation navigated some of the idiosyncratic inquiries that make up the ‘I draw, therefore I think’ project, exploring the idea of drawing as a primary unit of creativity and the gene as a fundamental unit of heredity.
To further engage the practice of eight of the project’s participating artists as well as to activate with an audience a collaborative exploration of drawing, a 12-hour Interactive Drawing Event took place on 23 October 2021. This event included live drawing and performances on the Miro board and an accompanying Zoom room. Participating artists included Nolan Oswald Dennis (Goodman Gallery), Nikhil Chopra (Galleria Continua), Shamilla Aasha (First Floor Gallery), Emmie Nume (Afriart Gallery), Hung Fai & Wai Pong-yu (INKstudio), and Jiieh G Hur & Eimei Kaneyama (Whistle). The closing conversation included Craig Yee of INKstudio (Beijing) and Valerie Kabov of First Floor Gallery (Harare). Together they shared their thoughts on drawing practice from their perspective as gallerists.
Emmie Nume collaborated with 8-year-old Theon whom he had been teaching art practice at the time of the event. View moments from their drawing intervention in the gif below.