Ryan Arenson’s baby yellow lives here – a story about an iPad, an app and 200 drawings

Ryan Arenson in baby yellow's apartment

Ryan Arenson in baby yellow’s apartment

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

Winter Sculpture Fair

The first Joburg Winter Sculpture Fair, was held at Nirox in the Cradle of Humankind on the weekend of May 4-5. A two-day Fair organised by Artlogic, the makers of the Joburg Art Fair and Food Wine Design, it was a supreme event. Perfect winter sunshine, winemakers and chefs imported from Franschhoek and a really superb sculpture exhibition in the extraordinary landscape that is Nirox.

Angus Taylor’s Layers of Being

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SA Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 opening night

It wouldn’t have been SA Fashion Week (April 11-15) without a nipple or two peeking through sheer fabric, girls on stilts, boys channeling Filipino superstar fashion blogger Bryan Boy with a clutch bag in one outstretched arm and lots of jostling for tickets and attention…

Black Coffee's Congolese Kuba-cloth-inspired collection

Black Coffee’s Congolese Kuba-cloth-inspired collection

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Saved from a pulp affliction – ‘book artist’ Keri Muller

Africa Reinvented

Africa Reinvented

It’s a map of Africa but not as you would usually know it. From a distance it resembles the texture of oyster mushrooms, their delicate fluted forms cast into whorls of soft colour. Up close you can make out the words that have combined to create the map, and the pages of books that have been delicately folded and glued together to create it.

This artwork “Africa Reinvented” has earned Keri Muller her title as the “book artist” or as Google’s search terms locate her, “Cape Town’s origami expert”. Continue reading

City Sightseeing bus launches in Joburg

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.

City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus launches in Johannesburg

City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus launches in Johannesburg

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Exhibition of Black Music in Newtown

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.

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Joburg’s inner city now on the tourist map

The view from Randlords, Braamfontein

“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

The sparklers at the heart of the Diamond Jubilee

Sophia Loren is looking at me. And she is entrancing. An extremely realistic portrait of her by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz – created by the arrangement of around 3000 thousand glittering loose diamonds photographed on a page – hangs in De Beers Headquarters on London’s Charterhouse Street.

Part of Muniz’s “Diamond Divas” series of glamorous Hollywood legends – the artwork sums up only a facet of what diamonds have come to represent.

Sofia Loren 'Diamond Diva' by Vik Muniz

The building’s very corporate facade had given no hint of its business, that it houses the world’s leading diamond supplier. Although I am not sure what I was expecting. A giant shiny rock to light my way through the rain-soaked streets? This is on my mind because exiting the tube station that morning I stopped a man in a suit to ask if he knew where “De Beers” was and he directed me to a pub. Continue reading

Winter’s coolest campaign – Nando’s and Cheesekids Souperstars

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

Otelo Burning – South Africa’s Zulu surfing movie

Sihle Xaba, star of Otelo Burning, is running late. But it’s a glorious morning on Durban’s South Beach and the photographer and I have a great vantage point – a shady bench at the Art Deco-style lifeguard station.
Reason’s “Walk on water” is playing in my head – a song inspired by the film about four boys – Mandla (played by Xaba), New Year (Thomas Gumede), and Otelo (Jafta Mamabolo) and his kid brother Ntwe (Tshepang Mohlomi) – growing up in a violence-ravaged Durban township in the late 1980’s who just want to surf.
I feel like I can walk on water/touch the sky and go further/spread my wings because I wanna/rise above these clouds and see the whole world… *


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