South African Art Scene: Township Arts Experience turns homes into galleries
In South Africa, there's a national public arts initiative that turns houses into art galleries. The Maboneng Township Arts Experience has shown the works of more than 40 people, encouraging locals to invest in art. CGTN's Julie Scheier has more from Johannesburg.
Art is in the eye of the beholder. But when it's exposed in a South African township home, it becomes a whole lot unique and colorful.
JULIE SCHEIER JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA "The growing challenges of artists breaking through in the mainstream gallery space is what inspired the concept of turning houses in the township of Alexandra into a platform to exhibit the works of emerging artist."
The Maboneng Township Arts Experience happened purely by chance.
SIPHIWE NGWENYA ARTIST "When I was drawing on the other street and I wanted to put my drawings in a gallery Rosebank, big gallery there by Jan Smuts and they said they got a two year waiting list and I would walk from here to go there, I walked back and I decided to exhibit my art in that street where I was drawing and I remember there was really bad weather and the home owner said I can put the artworks inside the house cause I had exhibited outside the house so it became a change of things."
The initiative runs guided tours to the gallery homes, local heritage sites and shops, benefiting artists and the community
HARRY NAKENG TOUR GUIDE "We know we are going to get people coming to Alex and make sure to buy the art, so that's the whole idea. So that's why we are opening up that gap for the artists."
JUNIOR TLOU HOMEOWNER "Whatever that I'm doing in life I'm doing for my children, to get to know all about what they call art. To grow with it maybe it will benefit for them cause I never had the chance to know about art so I think maybe it will be a good thing for them."
The gallery homes offer tourists a unique experience and artists business opportunities.
BUMBA ARTIST "We were so excited it's such a good idea, bringing art to different places not just moving away from the white cube for moving aways sake but bringing it to a place that's meaningful. Alex, the history that's around it. The artists in whatever capacity that have come out of Alex and then bringing that back here and exposure so when we heard about it it was like definitely we have to be apart of this."
"Having to come here and being here and experiencing everything first hand it's actually very amazing the initiative. I was saying to the group I was travelling with that Siphiwe deserves a Bells. I've always followed art, I've always been to galleries but experiencing such it's touching one way or the other."
This initiative seeks to explore many other townships in South Africa and hopes to keep growing the need of informing communities about art, and reaching potential buyers. Julie Scheier, CGTN JHB SA.