Artist Ryan Arenson dreams in one colour – baby yellow, but produces work in many. For the past two years he has been immersed in creating a six-year-old boy called Baby Yellow, an alter ego conceived on an iPad who since has taken on an unexpectedly rich digital life, drawing, writing books, playing in a band, creating music and enacting all manner of fantasies while he blurs the line between childhood exploration and adult subject matter. Baby Yellow lives in Arenson’s Johannesburg apartment. He inhabits the space as if he owns it… Continue reading
It takes a foreign sensibility to see Joburg’s suburban streets with new eyes. And I highly recommend it. On Friday morning we joined artists Susanne Kudielka and Kaspar Wimberley for a walk through Parkwood. Not your average walk, as we were encased in a cardboard Volkswagen Citi Golf. The two Stuttgart-based artists have been working as “artists-in-residence” at the Goethe-Institut for the past six weeks. They arrived in Joburg intending to look at the theme of security.
From beaded guard dogs to the fake ivy that doubles up as vicious spikes on suburb walls, they spent their time taking in the many ways and aesthetics in which people in this city protect their homes from outside invasion. Whether the threat is real or imagined…
So there I was travelling the highways and byways of the city in a big red open-top double decker bus, making good on Alain de Boton’s declaration that “The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.” I felt like a tourist, even without the uniform of sandals-and-socks and a giant Nikon camera, or its modern incarnation that involves pointing an iPad at some unfortunate local.
This one is not to be missed. I spotted the poster about two weeks ago in the city, and it made me curious. The International Exhibition of Black Music is on at Museum Africa – part of the France South Africa Seasons 2012/13 that has brought myriad diverse cultural events to the city over the past few weeks, including Molière’s “L’Avare” (The Miser) at the Market Theatre, Reacting to Chemistry exhibition at Sci-Bono, and French Connections – an exhibition of French works in the Johannesburg Art Gallery collection.
“If cities had profiles on a dating website, Joburg would be the one with the really great personality,” says Josef Talotta. “That’s opposed to Cape Town – the gorgeous blonde wearing a bikini”.
Talotta is the head of precinct development for South Point Properties in Braamfontein, one of the city’s thriving neighbourhoods. The company’s portfolio includes Hotel Lamunu, 5000 student accommodation units and Randlords, a spectacular party venue perched atop a 22-storey office block. It was Randlords that the Joburg City Tourism Association, an alliance of hotel owners, property developers and other key people who make the city’s social and cultural heart beat, chose for their recent launch, where plans were announced for creating a united front to market the inner city as a tourist destination.
Democracy was unkind to the inner city. Continue reading
Sunday morning and a long overdue celebration of Paul Ballen’s Homemade Ice Cream and Waffle Day. So good it deserves its own Day. @paul_ballen is one of those Joburg individuals I thank twitter for. I have even ordered his homemade ice-cream over that channel. It was months ago and I got a home delivery of 1 litre of Vietnamese coffee and another of Maple Syrup and Caramelized Pecan. Truly delicious. This morning we headed for Saxonwold and a Breakfast of Champions – a homemade waffle with a dollop of creamy and smooth peanut butter ice cream.
Yesterday the route to Goodman Gallery along Jan Smuts Avenue appears to have been lovebombed. In the same spot where a week ago a spear became a smear that caused such great fear some shweshwe prints, a few chunky knits, lots of stitches and a flurry of hearts festooned the trees and street poles leading to the Gallery between Denbigh and Chester Road along Jan Smuts Avenue. If you drive past, just smile. I did.
After two weeks of watching Joburg go to war about a piece of art that started as a spear and then became a fear-inducing smear I am delighted to announce that Nando’s latest campaign has managed to lift the gloom.
I love this ad that tackles one of South Africa’s saddest darkest and twisty-est predilections – xenophobia.
It was shared by one of my favourite organisations Cheesekids for Humanity – led by the “grand fromage” Shaka Sisulu – who have teamed up with the chicken brand for their latest campaign. Continue reading