Art and Culture in Jozi

arts alive

There is art all over Johannesburg right now.  Street art in Maboneng, performance art in Newtown (secret venues, look out for it) and hair art in Braamfontein.

Last week we saw the 7th FNB Johannesburg Art Fair, which was truly extraordinary.  The fair displayed the finest and most significant art from the African continent, and showcased established galleries, young galleries and performance art.  I was blown away by Dean Hutton’s ‘Room’, by the enormous sculptures of Mary Sibande, and by Mozambican photographer Mario Macilau.  Macilau’s story in particular enchanted me – he began his career by selling his mother’s mobile phone and buying a camera!

Maboneng has also just hosted the Joburg Fringe, in conjunction with the FNB Art Fair, including several walkabouts and open studios.  This art project is ongoing as there is / was so much street art.  Look out for the new mural by Carlo Gaili on Van Beek Street, and also the new Aerial Empire development at 7 Sivewright Street.  Aerial has an open courtyard around which are several working studios, manufacturing spaces, and art murals by Frederick Clarke and Love Jozi.

It was fantastic to see Soweto and Alex both included in the Jozi Art Week.  Soweto hosted an exhibition at the Mashumi Arts Project, with artist Pat Mautloa, and exhibitions at Alex’s GOM. ART Gallery.  These are both still open and well worth visiting.

We have our own arm wrestler wandering around Johannesburg too.  Anthea Moys is a Johannesburg based performance artist, and she’s taking on teams, clubs and individuals around the world.  Google her, you might find her popping up somewhere close to you soon! Could it be in Newtown?

Starting this weekend is Art’s Alive 2014.  This is an annual event that celebrates South African arts and culture, and you can get your fill on paintings, dance, theatre, street performance, music, and even school drama. It runs from 31 August to 10 September, and look for the program at  This is probably the most inclusive and creative event in Johannesburg, and by mid September we should all feel inspired!!!

Jazz on the Lake, at the Zoo Lake kick -starts the Art’s Alive Festival, attracting crowds of up to 25 thousand people.  This year Johnny Clegg, The Soil and Vusi Nova will be playing, as well as a Vidya Shah, from India, part of the ‘Shared History’ program.  Many of the roads around the Zoo Lake are closed, but the Rea Vaya has busses and the Jozi tuk-tuks will be in full operation. Look at this link for info and road closures.

Currently running at WAM (Wits Art Museum) is the Doing Hair: Art and Hair in Africa’ exhibit. It’s all about identity through hair – there are pics from the ‘best hair’ competition, as well as photographs, video footage, paintings and even a shack, all focused on African hairstyles.  Open until 02 November, and worth taking a morning and exploring WAM and nearby Braamfontein with it’s own quirky galleries and shops.  Also – there are over sixty hair stylists in Braamfontein, which shows what a huge focus African people put on hair.

Who needs to go to Paris or Barcelona when there’s so much happening in Jozi? With the terrible exchange rate, we need to enjoy our city.  And there’s a lot to enjoy. Have fun guys!  Send us your art pics…