Over the course of the next year, we're working with the British Council on their Connect / ZA work - British creatives will share their work in South Africa, and South African creatives will share their work in the UK. A lot of activity will focus on London, and Glasgow (linking to the 2014 Commonwealth Games). ZA activity will focus on Johannesburg and Cape Town. We will be doing a range of different activities and interventions to capture perceptions, opinions and insight into the work that is shared as part of Connect / ZA, and also more general opinions about the two countries.
Our knowledge of ZA was minimal at best - and so we suggested an orientation-style reconnaissance mission to help us better understand the contrasts - and the unexpected similarities! - between the two countries. Below are some of the snapshots we took during our visit in August. Kirsty took quite a few images and posted them on Instagram. I'm going to coerce her into embedding them into another blog post at a later date!
Having been warned by concerned friends and family (and even some strangers!) about crime and safety when visiting, we were prepared for the WORST CASE SCENARIO.
And then we arrived.
And we were met with nothing but friendly helpful LOVELY people everywhere!
Yes there is crime, as there is in any city anywhere.. We were more cautious than we would otherwise be with a camera (hence the limited shots, mostly indoors or when streets were deserted) which was my only real disappointment during the whole trip - the landscape is stunning, and the architecture is incredible - I just wish I'd been able to capture more of it!
Biggest surprise were the VIBRANT pockets of creative industry dotted around:
- independent markets
- artisan food producers
- INCREDIBLE COFFEE (actually, the food generally was just DELICIOUS!)
- fashionistas & hipsters
.. and a really awesome energy to the place. I don't want to rant endlessly about how awesome it was - instead I'll just post a list of links to some of the places we visited whilst there that we'd recommend to anyone thinking of visiting!
Art & Misc.
Assemblage / NewARC - Artists studios/network
David Krut Projects - printmaking and exhibitions in Maboneng and beyond
Sober and Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art - an artists' collective
iwasshot in Joburg :) - "Providing a platform for youth at risk to learn skills and generate an income."
Play Braamfontein (highlighting the most exciting creative companies in Braam)
Maboneng Precinct - with maps of the area and info on cafes, bars etc.