Art & Art History
Voices: Siemon Allen
Gallery 400 Lecture Room
400 South Peoria Street
South African artist Siemon Allen (born 1970) founded The FLAT Gallery in 1993 with his roommates Ledelle Moe, Niel Jonker, and Thomas Barry. Born out of a growing dissatisfaction with the limitations of the existing art scene in Durban and the need to take a more proactive approach in creating exhibition opportunities, the FLAT became a site for exhibitions, performances, multimedia events as well as a place for a broad range of creative exchanges. Running parallel to the political developments in South Africa that led to the historical elections of April 1994, the FLAT Gallery boasted thirty-two exhibitions/events over a period of sixteen months, bringing a vital alternative voice to the cultural climate of Durban.
Allen is participating in the Cry of My Birth Residency Project by Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago a program designed to generate greater awareness and appreciation for new contemporary artists of African origin, for whom there is little visibility, particularly in the midwest region of the United States. The impetus for Cry of My Birth is to highlight the advent of globalism and its effects on the shifting paradigm of contemporary art practice from Africa.
Allen received a BFA and Master’s in Technology and Fine Art from Technikon Natal, Durban, South Africa.