To the majority of Joburg residents they are merely just mine dumps, a defunct drive-in, a block of flats and even disposed household materials.
To the six emerging artists whose works from part of the newly- opened Ithuba Arts Gallery’s exhibition Traversed And Recorded, these sources tell the city’s history, present and future.
Mandy Johnston is exhibiting two mixed-media sculptural pieces that stand back back, the first titled Become Like Me And I Will Accept You, representing the city.
The second, I Am A Stranger Without You, assumes the role of Joburg’s inhabitants. Johnston uses locally sourced materials such as steel reclaimed from demolition sites and familiar bumper stickers to describe the sometimes innocuous, sometimes toxic relationship be- tween the city and its residents.
As Johnston’s piece demonstrates, that when a person lives long enough in a particular place, they end up not seeing the faults of their environment, Tshepo Mosopa’s Gold portrays Joburg as the most powerful commercial centre in Africa.
And depending on who you ask, the City of Gold can be either the best or worst city on the continent, which is what led Mosopo to in-vestigate what value means to the average Joburger, and how this impacts politics, society and culture.
His works stand out because they are laid bare on large unstretched canvasses, perhaps hinting to the city’s imperfection, underneath its allure.
Farieda Nazier has decided to use sculptural, filmic and performative works to show the forces that have forced Joburg to change to its current form, which range from dents and marks in buildings to how city dwellers are categorised by class, gender and other demographics.
Jason Larkin’s Tails From The Gold City is a photographic spread that focuses the viewer’s attention on gold mining and its by-product, tailing dams.
As any local will tell you, these mounds have altered the city’s topography and general landscape.
These mostly panoramic shots also include human subjects, bringing in the idea of Joburg’s new gold rush, brought about by the possibility of the tailings being mined for latent gold.
Ravi Govender – presenting a video titled Localized – and Andrew Sprawson – with his ballpoint and ink wash on paper offering Urban(e) – have both decided to make the inner city the subject of their works.
They touch on culture and what it means to be in the centre of the most important city in Africa.
Sprawson’s work opens up a debate on Joburg’s architecture, as it acts as an archive of the city.
But looking at the city’s history through architecture, comes pain and regret from those who were historically not allowed to be an integral part of the city.
The orignal article appeared in the Citizen (both print and online): view the online version: http://www.citizen.co.za/citizen/content/en/citizen/lifestyle-features?oid=363362&sn=Detail&pid=146826&Judging-Joburg