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UJ’s virtual Art Gallery Moving Cube wins Innovation Award

Moving Cube, UJ Arts & Culture’s virtual Art Gallery launched in partnership with MTN SA Foundation, scooped up this year’s Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) Innovation Award.

The annual BASA Awards shines a spotlight on business and arts partnerships that have, through their collaborative projects, made a positive impact to the arts and culture industry in South Africa. The 24th Awards ceremony, partnered by Hollard, was hosted on 31 August.

“This acknowledgement goes a long way in inspiring Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) to continue innovating the various spheres it operates in. While accelerated by the pandemic, and very much needed for our interdisciplinary experimentation, the Moving Cube was in planning as an extension of the UJ Art Gallery for some time”, says Annali Dempsey, Curator at the UJ Art Gallery.

In the response to the COVID-19 worldwide lockdown, the University of Johannesburg’s Art Gallery launched the Moving Cube platform in partnership with long-term partner MTN SA Foundation. Moving Cube was designed as an online gallery that offers 3D virtual exhibitions, 2D documentation, educational programmes, online walkabouts, video interviews with artists and curators, media, archival material and since made the UJ Art Gallery accessible to a global audience.

It launched with a digital experience of The Blind Alphabet – Letter B: Babery to Bigeminate by Willem Boshoff in October 2020. It has since hosted the digital reiterations of Pauline Gutter’s Primordial, Diane Victor’s Folly Frailty and Fear and Lwandiso Njara’s Engineering the New Jerusalem III – The Digital City as well as The Pandemic Project and Cure – UJ Arts & Culture’s interdisciplinary lockdown projects.

“It was important for us to go beyond expectations of standard 3D galleries, which challenged us to design a platform that showcases our projects in a unique way and that is accessible to a global audience,” says Annali Dempsey.

The MTN SA Foundation has provided financial support for the project and helped design the infrastructure. “Having a partner like the MTN SA Foundation really helped propel what was just an idea into a sophisticated digital platform that serves the visual art industry in South Africa,” says Dempsey. “We extend heartfelt thanks to BASA for this great honour and to Hollard for making this special occasion possible”, she concludes.

UJ Arts & Culture will be hosting celebrated artist and the first ever Ampersand Fellow, Paul Emmanuel’s Substance of Shadows from 11 September 2021 at the UJ Art Gallery and UJ’s Moving Cube. To visit the virtual platform, go to

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UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA ( offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF (National Research Foundation) SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.

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