The exhibition MAKING WAY opened at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa in June 2012. The exhibition was curated by Ruth Simbao, Associate Professor in the Fine Art Department at Rhodes University, South Africa. The exhibition and performances took place in four venues: the Alumni Gallery, the Provost Prison, Fort Selwyn and the Observatory Museum. A new version of Making Way opens at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg in January 2013.

MAKING WAY is about forging new pathways physically, socially and conceptually.

In navigation terms, 'making way' suggests that a ship is moving through water with its own power—a sail or an engine. In a time of unmoored geographies, this nautical term can suggest physical progress across land too, for land is not as grounded as it used to be.

Movement is often represented in this exhibition through the body, which drags, scrapes and corporeally etches new trails. A number of artists based in South Africa refer to contemporary forms of global movement and southern African migration that fuel positive manifestations of cosmopolitanism as well as negative outbreaks of xenophobic violence. Social clusters of people are reshuffled as nations, governments and communities make way for new dispositions, new traditions, new accents and new outlooks. As such, 'making way' can be used as a metaphor for the making of socio-political, communal or personal progress. This progress is not necessarily linear with a clear goal ahead, but can simply be about movement, about progressing beyond stagnation.

A critical example of contemporary social rearrangement is the rise of China on the economic landscape. Rapid change is underway as the 'old China' makes way for swift construction, large-scale global reach and multiple variations of hybrid traditions. While revived China-Africa relations have piqued the interest of economists, little cultural understanding exists, and Sinophobia is hot on the heels of Afrophobia. This exhibition seeks ways of opening up new conversations about cultural diversity, social tolerance and human understanding at a time of intense movement and change in the Global South.

The participating artists are Athi-Patra Ruga (in collaboration with Mikhael Subotzky), Brent Meistre, Chen Qiulin, Dan Halter, Dotun Makun, Doung Anwar Jahangeer, Gerald Machona, Hua Jiming, James Webb, Kudzanai Chiurai, Lebogang Rasethaba, Maleonn, Qin Ga, Randolph Hartzenberg, Thenjiwe Nkosi, Vulindlela Nyoni and Wu Junyong. The exhibition includes new performances by Randolph Hartzenberg, Doung Anwar Jahangeer, Athi-Patra Ruga and Gerald Machona.

Funding for the exhibition MAKING WAY was provided by the National Arts Festival, the National Arts Council, the Rhodes University Research Committee, the National Research Foundation and Sumali Investments.