By Tebogo Matshana
As a knowledge-sharing forum, the up-and-coming Latitudes podcast platform, in partnership with iTOO Artinsure, makes a critical contribution to conversations centered around the visual arts in South Africa. In a world where digital platforms reconfigure the ways in which we consume information and engage in critical conversations, The Latitudes Podcast emerges as an innovative conversation starter, offering refreshing perspectives. With a commitment to fostering thought-provoking debates and bridging the gap between art enthusiasts and industry insiders, this particular podcast is a crucial part of the South African art landscape. Significantly, the Latitudes Podcast, brings together a listenership of visual art community enthusiasts, its thought leaders in the South African art scene and facilitates accessibility through meaningful conversations.
Hosted by Refiloe Mpakanyane, who has a deep-rooted passion for visual arts content, the podcast provides access to a diverse range of practitioners and figureheads within the art world. It is a means by which the local art scene connects with the global – sparking intellectual discourse and challenging established norms. In the context of South African contemporary visual art, The Latitudes Podcast is a catalyst for change, broadening the horizons and enriching the dialogue, as it ushers in a new era of understanding and appreciation for the arts in this vibrant and ever-evolving community.
The podcast goes beyond the conventional – welcoming artists, collectors, curators, and enthusiasts to engage in open and candid discussions. Through its inclusive approach, it breaks down silos that have previously separated different segments of the art world, thus fostering a more holistic understanding of the visual arts. For example, by featuring young artists and ANNA Award finalists like Nindya Bucktowar and Alexandra-Naledi Holtman, the podcast spotlights emerging talent and offers them a chance to share their experiences and insights, further promoting a sense of unity within the art community.
More to this, in considering thought leadership in the South African visual art scene, the Latitudes Podcast facilitates a conversation with influential figures such as Simchowitz and Altman, who are South African-born, US-based art collectors, gallerists, and curators. It provides a platform for these leaders to share their expertise. This not only exposes the local audience to global perspectives but also places South Africa on the international art map. A discussion with Cinga Samson, who is experiencing a rapid rise in the art world, offers unique insights into the artist’s journey, adding layers of understanding to his work. By inviting gallerist Mark Read, the podcast allows listeners to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the art market, discussing the phenomenon artists experience standing on “quicksand.”
One of the podcast’s most admirable attributes is its ability to make art more accessible. By featuring voices like that of Professor Sumayya Vally’s, in discussion around architecture as an artistic medium, the podcast broadens the horizons of what art encompasses, making it more relatable to a broader audience.
The Latitudes Podcast serves as a bridge, allowing listeners to gain an in-depth understanding of the South African contemporary visual art world, from the perspective of both creators and collectors. It encourages dialogue, thereby fostering an environment in which everyone can participate in the conversation, regardless of their level of expertise. The podcast acts as a knowledge-sharing forum, a conduit for critical conversations, as well as a compass navigating the ever-evolving landscape of South African visual arts.
This story is made possible by the Arts Story Incubator programme of Breinstorm Brand Architects, in collaboration with Klyntji and IQOQO. It is funded by a PESP-3 grant that is supported by BASA and the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.