Dr George Mahashe has been awarded a prestigious UCT College of Fellows' Young Researcher Award for his project —defunct context. The College of Fellows recognises outstanding scholarly work by young academics who have made significant independent contributions to research in their field. The CCA is proud of Dr Mahashe who started his MAFA as part of the university and it’s Columbarium and completed his PhD based at the CCA and the APC Programme.
The last two year has been busy ones for Mahashe. Looking at the list of projects that he has been involved with, it is hardly surprising that UCT has taken notice. Mahashe convenes the Michaelis School of Fine Art’s Honours in Curatorship programme, initiated by the CCA, teaches the Foundation course at Michaelis, and also supervises a number of Masters students. Whilst these responsibilities would have exhausted most lecturers and academics, he has also managed to pursue his own research during this time. This work has manifested as artworks shown in galleries, journals articles, interviews on national television, and a series of collaborations with organisations further afield.
His —defunct context (funded by the NRF BAAP and the NIHSS) explores the creative potential of a pavilion for exploiting the gaps inherent in popular approaches to transforming institutions like ethnographic museums’ approach to the inclusion of previously marginalised people. The project has intersected with the teaching he does on the Honours programme in ground-breaking ways, with students attesting to how it has transformed their views of academia. In addition to this, Mahashe has also exhibited as part of the Interfacing New Heavens exhibition with Vanessa Lorenzo at the Javett Art Centre earlier this year - a show that fused visual art with science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems, and, as part of the Handle with Care exhibition also presented by the centre, he anchored the prototypes section as a mediator for the SOUTH32 collection. For a project titled, Mufhiri, he is busy exploring different copper traditions from both southern Africa and the DRC and doing it in collaboration with Joseph Kasau and Patrick Mudekereza. Along with these projects and shows, Mahashe is also working with Monica Bello (Curator and head of Arts at CERN) on the curation of a series of residencies, Connect South Africa, which involve the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) and the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). If all of this is not enough, he has also published a paper in the Critical African Art Journal and appeared as a quest on SABC 1's Imvelo.
The College of Fellow award is therefore a well-deserved accolade to add to an already impressive list of achievements. Congratulations, Dr Mahashe. We are looking forward to what the next 6 months will deliver.
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