Photo: SAASUM / ST.ART

Identity: A multi-media pop-up gallery

Gillian Davies reviews SAASUM and ST.ART’s most recent collaboration.

Last week, SAASUM and ST.ART had a wildly successful multi-media pop-up gallery showcasing photography, art, and film from students across St Andrews. Hosted at Spoiled Hairdressing, the event had an incredibly laid back atmosphere, welcoming students with complimentary South African wine from the St Andrews Wine Company and a proper gallery layout.

The theme of this year’s project was developed in the partnership between SAASUM and ST.ART magazine, who started working together in 2014 to present multi-dimensional representations of Africa through art. The idea behind ‘Identity’ builds on previous themes that all centre on the idea of perception. The gallery explored how the process of perceiving and visually representing a group of people or a place ultimately contributes to the development of their/its identity using different forms of art.

Students contributed photography, film, watercolour, oil painting, sketches, sculpture, and spoken and written word focusing on different places and people throughout Africa to create a truly phenomenal collection of art. The event also hosted the official pre-screening of Hashtag Poor People // The Documentary, created by Imogen Hooper and Omar Ali, which explores the question of whether or not “voluntourism” needs saving.

Photo: SAASUM / ST.ART
Photo: SAASUM / ST.ART

With amazing photography that was previously showcased at the Adamson Bar at last year’s exhibit and new artwork done by Elikem Logan, each piece had a new insight to offer to the African identity. Every work told a story, and it was interesting to see the interaction between each section as they showed examples of education, groups, and communities throughout Africa. With various pieces on offer in a silent auction, students had the opportunity to take home prints after exploring all that was on offer to the sounds of DJ Untitled, who kept tunes flowing all night amongst the bustling crowd that gathered.

Overall, I think that the pop-up gallery went incredibly well, and it is very clear that the months of hard work that SAASUM and ST.ART put into this year’s collaboration have definitely paid off. The real strength between the SAASUM x ST.ART project is the collaborative nature. SAASUM’s Executive Director Rina Agboraw believes that they are consistently able to improve upon previous years’ events “through a collaborative process in which passionate and intelligent students, from a variety of different academic backgrounds, work together in developing the event.”

To anyone interested in African affairs, get involved with SAASUM by coming to their great events or applying for the committee. Their annual academic summit will take place in February, focusing this year on Leadership and Government. With prestigious speakers discussing a myriad of educational topics, the day is great for learning and networking. If you’re interested in meeting some incredibly passionate people and partaking in academic, socio-cultural, and artistic events, you won’t want to miss this year’s SAASUM events.

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