Today we had our first day in Johannesburg. We’re here to discover the local art scene. Just in case you’re tuning in for the first time: we are looking for South African young artists to show during our show opening March 28th in Cape Town and after that in Oslo, Norway. To make sure we’re not limiting ourselves to Cape Town, we wanted to take a brief but efficient trip to Joburg to familiarize ourselves with what’s happening here. Dillion from Creative Nestlings suggested we got in touch with Sindiso Nyoni from Studio Riot and Isaac, both working from the Assemblage, an artist run space in Newtown, Joburg. After our thunderstorm-themed arrival last night, we woke up, went for a swim and then went straight to the Assemblage.It was a bit difficult to find, but once we arrived we were welcomed by Sindiso at what has to be one of the nicest places to work at for an artist. 21 artists share a hangar-like building, some have their own studio space, some share it with another artist. Because there is a common printmaking workshop in the space, many of those artists are in fact printmakers, like Sindiso and Isaac.
Aside from the printmakers there were also painters and paper artists, whom we all got to meet. It was very nice to learn that some of the artists had heard about No Man’s Art Gallery before and had even submitted. It was great to see the work in person, we had only seen it on a digital portfolio before that. After checking out the artists at the Assemblage, Sindiso was so kind to show us even more art.After a lunch at Sophiatown, where Joery and I ate caterpillars, we continued our way to the Market Photo Workshop. I knew about the Market Photo Workshop mostly because of their alumnus Zanele Muholi. We first visited the solo exhibition of Sydelle Willow Smith and then briefly chatted to the directors of the school to see if they would be able to suggest some talented students or recent graduates. We received a pile of catalogues, our homework for the next few days, and continued our way to the Artist Proof Studio. Isaac had already told us a little bit about this place, because he used to study there. We got the grand tour when we arrived. This place is absolutely amazing. It was once founded to bridge the artistic gap that the apartheid had created, offering a free three year print-making programme for artists. There is no tuition fee, only the requirement that after completion the artists donate a body of work to the school’s gallery to sell. Artist Proof also has established artists like William Kentridge in their collection, and selling those works funds in large part the tuition of the students. At some point apparently the studio burnt down and it was on the verge of ceasing to exist, but major South African gallerists and arts institutions stepped in to become partners and patrons at the same time so that the studio could continue to exist. At Artist Proof, we discovered some great linocuts as well by very young but very talented artists. We’ll show you some of their work soon.
We still need you!
Please contribute to our Blikkiesdorp Photography Contest by donating an amount of choice, purchasing a picture or donating your old camera. With your help, the kids will be able to improve their photography skills with a second film roll.