This year, FNB Art Joburg’s Open City programme has extended its footprint into the heart of one of Joburg’s original cultural and creative hubs – the Play Braamfontein district. For two weeks, from 25 August to 9 September, art lovers will be able to visit four exhibitions within a stone’s throw from each other.
Play Braamfontein has earned its reputation as a place where people and ideas come together in their beautifully designed spaces, so it is befitting that Play Braamfontein is hosting a solo exhibition by established documentary photographer Jabulani Dhlamini, a group exhibition with a spotlight on emerging artists, an immersive installation by multidisciplinary artists Natalie Paneng, as well as the current exhibition in Play Braamfontein’s resident Kalashnikovv Gallery.
Jabulani Dhlamini – To Recall the Past in Present
Jabulani Dhlamini, renowned photographer represented by Goodman Gallery, documents significant historical moments and captures the quieter moments in the lives of everyday South Africans. This exhibition is positioned as a thread in the social fabric of South Africa’s many contested public and private memories. It explores memory – which in all its articulations – is contested territory because it depends, quite simply, on who gets to remember.
Group Exhibition – Towards New Frontiers
The fifth floor of 73 Juta Street has been transformed into a pop-up gallery of three adjacent spaces that look out onto Joburg’s iconic cityscape. Towards New Frontiers, curated by Lesole Tauatswala and Nqaba Shakes Mbolekwana moves through multiple realms; the self, the public, the absurd, and the uncanny— a plethora of ways young artists explore boundaries that relate to themselves and their surroundings. New frontiers embody the unknown, but whatever they may be, the youth will take us there.
The first exhibition presents the works of Kamva Matuis, Shalom Mushwana, Whitney Petersen, Levy Pooe, Refiloe Namise, Baarabile Xaba, Raees Saiet, Mankebe Seakgoe and Reef Sithole. The second exhibition presents works by Mvelo Manyathela, Chinenye Chukwuka and Jana Cloete who are all post graduate students from the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg. Finally the third exhibition is dedicated to seven emerging photographers who make sense of the world around them by exploring counter-stereotypic imagery, narratives of black representation and aestheticism. The artists include Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Lunathi Mgxuma, Kgotlelelo B Sekiti, Thando Phenyane, Amira Shariff, Bambatha Jones and Luke Ngcube.
Natalie Paneng – Ophelia Does Backstroke
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Incorporated into Ophelia Does Backstroke is an exquisite installation by Natalie Paneng and ten artworks printed by Alex Vosloo from Flood House, which are suspended to create an immersive experience that the viewer can enter. The exhibition brings life to spaces and stories which are said to be lifeless. It aims to inspire thinking centred on fantasy in relation to the black female body.
Kalashnikovv Gallery – Fever Returns featuring Tyra Naidoo, Alka Dass and Saaiqa
Alka Dass, Tyra Naidoo and Saaiqa are the founding members of the Kutti Collective, a growing collective of South African artists with South Asian roots. Fever, Returns’ dream-and-memory like qualities portray real life from the perspectives of blurred documentary and a touch of pop, stoking a fire that is both warm and scathing.
Open City launches at Play Braamfontein on Thu Aug 25 with all venues opening late from 17:00– 20:00 for the launch. All exhibitions are free and open from 10:00–16:00 (closed Sundays) until Friday September 9.