Statement on the participation of South Africa in the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale

The South African Departments of Arts and Culture, Foreign Affairs and the National Heritage Council will participate in the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale, to be held from 10 September to 19 November 2006.

This Biennale will, for the first time in its own history, focus on the design of cities, their urban infrastructure and social dynamics, providing an unique international perspective on the relationship between architecture, society and sustainability.

The theme for this year's Biennale, under the directorship of Prof. Richard Burdett is "Cities: Society and Architecture". Prof. Burdett is the Centennial Professor in Architecture and Urbanism at the London School of Economics and founding director of the LSE Cities Programme, a research and teaching centre which explores links between architecture, urban design and urban society.

South Africa is the first African country to be officially invited to participate in this prestigious bi-annual event that has an attendance of over 100 000 visitors and 3000 accredited journalists from around the world. The Architectural Biennale will overlap with the high profile Venice Film Festival.

The South African participation was discussed amongst a wide spectrum of stakeholders from Government, universities, academics and the South African Institute of Architects during a workshop held on 13 March 2006 in Pretoria. The discussions identified potential themes, messages, projects and exhibits for the South African participation and in general discussed issues around the development of our cities since 1994.

South Africa has been allocated a 140sqm space in the Padiglione Italia (Italian Pavilion) in the Giardini.

The South African participation will be facilitated through the South African Commissioner for the event Ambassador Lenin Shope, based in Rome. South Africa's Consul General in Milan, Alwyn Figgins has been appointed his Deputy.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa

Department of Foreign Affairs
P/Bag X152

19 April 2006.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa