The St Andrews Africa Summit (SAASUM) Pop-Up Gallery
By Stephanie Hammer
Though a hairdressing studio does not likely come to mind as an obvious venue for an art exhibition, the choice of Spoiled Hairdressing as the location for the St. Andrews Africa Summit (SAASUM)’s recent Pop-Up Gallery was a good one. Using some of the in-lay features of the space, such as the large mirrors, to highlight the art on display, the organizers created a great atmosphere. Held from 19:00 to 21:00 on Tuesday, February 6th, the Pop-Up Gallery showed mostly photographs, alongside a few paintings, all of which had Africa as their theme. The event was well-attended, and visitors circulated around the space, looking at the images and talking in small groups, glasses of wine in hand.
The front room contained the ticket stand, DJ booth, and table with an assortment of complimentary South African wines. The main exhibition space was in the rectangular back room. The barber’s chairs had been cleared away, but rather than removing the large mirrors used by hairdressers, or placing the artworks around them, the organisers displayed the photographs on the mirrors themselves, creating a dynamic play of flatness and three-dimensionality. The white walls of the space accented the vibrant colours of many of the photos, particularly those taken in Morocco. Lights in recesses around the mirrors also added to the overall effect.
While some of the photographs were taken by members of the SAASUM committee, the majority were submitted by St Andrew students who have studied abroad or visited Africa, and covered a range of locations, such as Senegal, South Africa, Malawi, and Morocco. The subject matter was also varied, including Kenyan wildlife, street views of Marrakesh, and portraits of children from the Matonyok Children’s Home in Olasiti, Tanzania. The photographers also provided captions that contextualised the images, enhancing the viewing experience.
All of the photographs were for sale. Visitors could fill out forms to place bids on the image(s) of their choice, which were sold in a silent auction. The money raised through ticket sales and the silent auction will go towards covering the transportation and accommodation costs of the speakers at SAASUM’s fourth annual conference, the theme of which is ‘Identity and Empowerment: An African Evolution’. To be held on Saturday, February 24th at Hotel du Vin, it will surely be an event worth attending.