COOL CAPITAL GUERRILLA DESIGN MAGAZINE
START WHERE YOU ARE USE WHAT YOU HAVE DO WHAT YOU CAN
COOL CAPITAL went global in 2016
Northam/ Oppikoppi Potchefstroom
SOUTH AFRICA Pretoria Winterveldt Potchefstroom Stellenbosch Johannesburg Richmond Northam/ Oppikoppi GREECE Temple of Apollo
ITALY Venice SPAIN Bilbao
Word from the editor
Cool Capital turns 3
Thumbs up for DorpStad
Venice Biennale: Reflections on the South African Cool Capital Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia, 2016
Creative actions speak louder than words
Skolekuns: Hoekstene vir die stad se toekoms
MAP: Pretoria born & bred
#sitcool with PPC
City flag Q & A
A Cool Capital organiserâ€™s visual diary
Just dial 012
CHINA Beijing, Shanghai Hong Kong
New public sculptures offer a progressive image of the capital city
NETHERLANDS Amsterdam Leiden GERMANY Berlin Sylt
VIETNAM Da Nang
A word from our Mayor
WORD FROM THE EDITOR Pieter Mathews Architect, Maverick & World Traveler
It is with great pride that we share, show and boast about the outcomes of our city’s second Cool Capital Biennale with this world-class magazine. The world’s only “uncurated DIY Guerrilla Biennale” deserves nothing less. Our Cool Capital Magazine not only superbly documents the 2016 creative interventions and art projects, but also holds up a mirror to the world and to our own citizens to show what is possible. The theme for the second Biennale was “Small is Big,” to show how small interventions can have a huge impact on the city and its urban environment (with the Saadjies project as a good example) or, alternatively, that many small interventions grouped together can become one massive installation or artwork, as can be seen in our school projects article. We have proven wrong the three main excuses for not taking part: time, permission and money. This initiative relies heavily on daring creative volunteers and sponsors to achieve what is shown on these pages. People often tell me they have no time, but in actuality we waste a lot of time, like procrastinating on social media, for instance. I am a firm believer that the contrary is true: the more one has on one’s plate, the more one can achieve. Furthermore, the artist Banksy believes that “people never take initiative because nobody ever told them to”. Cool Capital fills this gap to allow citizens to creatively occupy their urban environment – it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to obtain permission beforehand. The third excuse, lack of funding, was also proven unfounded with many interventions made from recycled materials and even book donations, as in the WitOpWit book project. If you have a great idea and can put pen to paper, we will endeavour to help source funding from our loyal and new sponsors. We will always strive to keep Cool Capital open and inclusive by extending a standing open invitation to any individual, institution, collective, company or group to join in. We do not judge
and we have no gatekeepers or committees. We promise to keep it this way as we passionately believe in democratizing creativity. Pretoria is blessed with an abundance of assiduous people who like to get things done and see results. Results came not only in the tangible form of legacy projects, but also in accolades and awards certainly not expected: the Pretoria News 2016 list of Newsmakers of the Year, the Venice 2016 Architectural Biennale, exposure in Wallpaper* magazine and on BBC Travel with our benches project, and various prestigious awards covered in Carla Taljaard’s article on taking stock of the inaugural Biennale. You will notice the world map adorning these pages. With more confidence, we started to look outwards (to other cities and countries); triggered by the prestigious Venice Biennale invitation and the excellent press we received, we decided to invite artists who resided not only in Pretoria but across the country. We even held a pop-up art show for the internationally acclaimed Flemish artist, William Sweetlove, in one of our parks. Hopefully, with enough support, Cool Capital can become a unique selling point for our city. I would like to applaud all the contributors, sponsors, artists, sculptors and institutions that chose to take action instead of remaining amongst the crowds who only talk. To all the outsiders and our citizens who perceive our city as bureaucratic, dull and boring, I hope this magazine is testimony of the contrary. I was and still am amazed at our creative undercurrent. Creative citizens are valuable assets for any city and should be nurtured. I hope that you enjoy this fresh perspective we offer in our beautifully crafted magazine and, furthermore, I hope that it will inspire you to get going – no one is waiting.
EDITOR Pieter J Mathews
DEPUTY EDITORS Carla Taljaard Jana Kruger
DESIGN EDITOR Chenette Swanepoel
COVER DESIGN Mathews and Associates Architects
TEXT EDITOR Karlien van Niekerk
ADDITIONAL PROOFREADING Liam Purnell
TYPESETTING Eunese Beukes
VISUAL BOOKS PO Box 2676, Brooklyn Square, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.
CONTRIBUTORS Cool Capital is built on the enthusiasm of both the creative community and citizens of the capital city. This unique project would not be possible without the dedicated help from people who feel passionate about it and are always willing to lend a helping hand. We are indebted to the people who organize and document projects and to those who enable us to reflect every two years. We would like to extend special thanks to the collaborators who made this publication possible. It bears testimony to the fact that we live in a global village.
WRITERS [ISSN no. 978-0-620-74406-5 © Copyright on text & photographs: as indicated © Copyright on design & published form: Visual Books Printed 2017. EMAIL: email@example.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the copyright holders and the publisher. FONT Museo Sans © Jos Buivenga All reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication. Neither the publisher nor the editor nor the sponsors can accept any liability for any consequences arising from the use thereof or the information contained therein. On submission of material, the authorship of participants is established and confirmed, and permission obtained to publish the material in this publication. Although we strive for utmost perfection in every detail, we cannot be held responsible for any loss or subsequent damage arising from inaccuracies.
Adriaan Louw Daniel Rankadi Mosako Diane de Beer Elani Willemse Fatima Cassim Jan Hugo Johan Myburg Melinda Shaw Nicholas J Clarke
PHOTOGRAPHERS Alet Pretorius Carla Crafford Lisa Hnatowics Neil Human
SPONSORS Atterbury Trust Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) City Property Department of Arts and Culture Mathews and Associates Architects MTN Foundation PPC Cement Ltd. Strauss & Co.
Taking stock of our inaugural Biennale
When we started preparations for the first ever Cool Capital in 2013, our expectations were quite low: we envisaged our inaugural pop-up guerrilla design festival to have around 20 participants (and one art gallery if we were lucky). The rules to participate in Cool Capital were simple: if you had an idea to improve something in your neighbourhood, you were welcome to execute it, provided that it was within the municipal bylaws of the city, within the confines of Pretoria, and publicly accessible. Cool Capital would support your idea by publishing your project on our social media pages and website. We would connect people with similar ideas and try to match up projects with possible sponsors if we were able. We figured that if we could get a small group of individuals motivated, we could perhaps host a little Cool Capital event every two years. But we underestimated Pretoria’s most valuable asset: its people, especially the friendly, hardworking and passionate creative community of artists, architects and designers that call the capital city home. In the end there were well over 1000 participants and an incredible group of sponsors, not to mention the supporters who attended concerts, exhibitions and tours. These 1000 participants created and organised beautiful art installations, sculptures, events and excursions without any financial incentive.
Photograph supplied by BASA
Some of the 2014 Cool Capital projects included: • Five new murals in the Pretoria CBD • Ten new permanent art installations • Ten new designer public benches Our citizen-driven approach paid off, and the hard work of the resourceful, adaptable and reliable people of this city was showcased at home and abroad. We were able to create a beautiful coffee table book documenting every participant’s contribution. Thanks to very generous sponsors, we were able to give each participant a copy, with a few copies spare to send to tourist destinations to promote our city to international guests. Meanwhile, the rest of the world took note, and with the generous support of the South African Department of Arts and Culture, Cool Capital crossed international borders in 2016 to represent South Africa at the Biennale di Architettura in Venice, Italy. The theme for the exhibition in Venice was “Reporting from the front”, and it was a great honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to share our experiences with big international role players, and to showcase our local projects to the who’s who of the international design community. We met some of our big heroes who also famously walk the talk when it comes to design in the public domain.
The 2016 Biennale in Venice received more than 500 000 visitors over its six months duration, and our exhibition featured in 11 international publications including Wallpaper* magazine and The Venice Insider. (To experience the pavilion, visit our website www.southafrican2016pavilion. co.za. You can also take a virtual tour of the pavilion at the Google Cultural Institute.) Our catalogue and film were very well received at the prestigious Sterling Library in the Venice Giardini. Back at home, our public bench project in partnership with PPC Cement was awarded the BASA (Business and Arts South Africa) Innovation Award. We were up against stiff competition such as War Horse (a theatre production sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank) and The Loeries Awards (sponsored by Adams and Adams). Luckily it was the special relationship between Cool Capital and PPC Cement, and the way in which our bench project benefitted a much larger group of people, which convinced the judges. Halfway through the 2014 Cool Capital, we decided that we should probably start to document projects with short films. What eventually followed was the creation of a 40-minute documentary called DorpStad, made by filmmakers Neil Human and Christo Jansen Niemand. DorpStad fascinated local and
We at Cool Capital are privileged to have wonderful collaborators, sponsors and supporters who have committed to walk the talk with us. We happily showed our gratitude to them in 2015: PPC Cement, the Dutch Embassy and City Property all received a special Sponsor Award, and our primary sponsor Atterbury Trust was awarded the Cool Capital floating trophy – a bronze sculpture of Snorre [moustaches] and Ladders by Pretoriabased sculptor Guy du Toit. Although 2016 was a tough year economically, socially and politically, we are proud of what the citizens of Pretoria as a collective achieved in 2016. Cool Capital shows the world what an active citizenry can achieve and how we can harness our collective creative leverage, becoming better friends, citizens and people in the process. *Carla Taljaard is an architect at Mathews & Associates Architects and organiser of both Cool Capital 2014 and the South African Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2016.
Photographer: Lisa Hnatowics Photographer: Werner Spies
1. Architect Daniel van der Merwe, and Carla Taljaard, accept, the BASA Innovation Award from Chairman Kwanele Gumbi and Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthetwa. 2. Cold weather did not deter the crowds at the Cool Capital 2014 launch concert. 3. A catalogue documented over 150 projects from the 2014 Cool Capital. 4. Pieter and Carla meet renowned Dutch architect and previous biennale creative director Rem Koolhaas at the Venice Biennale in 2016. 5. Pieter explains how Cool Capital sidesteps bureaucracy at TEDxPretoria in 2016.
Photographer supplied by TedXPretoria
international crowds and was selected for the prestigious SCENECS film festival in the Netherlands and the Amsterdam Lift-off Film Festival, as well as the Silwerskerm in Cape Town this year, where it was one of three finalists in the documentary category. We were also invited to TEDxPretoria, where convenor Pieter Mathews shared some of his insights into mobilising the Cool Capital community.
Photographer: Hein Perry
THUMBS UP FOR DORPSTAD A documentary film with impact
DorpStad, a finalist in the Best Documentary Film category at the kykNET Silwerskerm film festival Photographer:Pieter Mathews
Dorspstad star on the walk of fame on the blue carpet. Photographer: Neil Human
The documentary film DorpStad opens with a dark scene on a city rooftop. People are seen quietly fixing ropes to columns and cables with cable-ties. Suddenly, a switch is turned on and a lettering installation fills the entire scene with light. The words ‘Cool Capital’ are suddenly beamed from a city rooftop.
4am to be ready to film a fabric installation (of questionable legality) at the Fountains Circle the next day. Indeed, you had to have true grit to deal with difficult metro police officers or security guards - always ready to grab your gear and run for it if things go south.
in Hilversum and then to Venice where it was part of the exhibition of the South African Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia 2016. In Venice the film was also accepted into the Stirling Library. Finally, DorpStad was selected to be part of the Amsterdam Lift-off Film Festival 2016 online screenings.
This encapsulates the nature of Cool Capital and indeed the rest of the film which documents it: pop-up, sudden, under-the-radar and risky.
“The film truly encapsulates the spirit of the capital city and its people.”
Back in South Africa, the film made it to the prestigious KykNET Silwerskerm film festival where it was a finalist in the best documentary film category.
Documenting the first guerilla designer city festival was not an easy task as filmmakers Neil Human and Christo Jansen Niemand will tell you: a certain amount of flexibility was required from the filmmakers to the ever-changing nature of installations and people participating in Cool Capital. It would be interviews with high-school art teachers on one day, and documenting a dust artwork by Diane Victor the following. Then waking up at
In the end, DorpStad premiered to a 300-strong crowd in October 2015 in the SAX Arena in Irene. After that, it went on to the Netherlands where it was selected to screen as part of the SCENECS international film festival
The film truly encapsulates the spirit of the capital city and its people. DorpStad does not shy away from Pretoria’s u npalatable qualities andillustrates the differencethat viewing your world through a new set of eyescan make. It is a film that will make you think and give you reason to smile. *DorpStad is available to watch online at [https:// vimeo.com/148318482].
VENICE BIENNALE Reflections on the South African Cool Capital pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia, 2016. Nicholas J Clarke Research Associate, Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria, PhD Candidate, Heritage & Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology. Photographs by Carla Crafford
I was fortunate to be able to travel to Venice to attend the 2016 Biennale. Visiting the exhibition by my native country was a top priority, especially as it showcased my hometown city of many names: iPitoli - Tshwane - Pretoria - Snor City. In this essay I will explore, from my perspective and understanding, the presence and impact of this South African pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition (Biennale) in Venice. The International Architecture Exhibition (Biennale) has, since its establishment in 1980, grown into the most important event on the international architectural calendar. The theme for this year’s
Biennale was “Reporting from the Front”. It called for a changed perspective on the role of architecture, resonating with the current consensus that the architectural profession, through its becoming subservient to the Neoliberalist market economy, has lost its larger societal reason for being. This opinion is not mine only but has been vocalised by some highly regarded practitioners, including Rem Koolhaas. He recently stated … architecture has a serious problem today.  The theme of the 2016 Biennale was effectively a ‘call to arms’, providing a platform to expose architectural projects that were socially based, problem-driven and have served in the trenches of … the many battles that need to be won in order to improve the quality [of the] built environment and consequently people’s quality of life. The Venice Architecture Biennale comprises two categories of entries: the country pavilions (in essence ways in which countries express an image to the world; propaganda, if you will) and the curated exhibition of notable architectural projects, chosen to relate to the theme. It is clear that a number of the participating countries struggled to align the images they would like to project to the world
Photographer: Werner Spies
with the Biennale theme (for instance the self-content smugness emanating from the antipodes who ‘have arrived’: pool-side stories from a continent where the sun always shines, and intricately crafted architectural models floating on cloudlike islands; or the Nordic self-fulfilment which asks: ‘now that we have created a perfect society, where do we go from here?’) Yet some countries, notably South Africa, got it right. Cool Capital stood out from its peers.
The 2016 South African entry was not about architecture, but about citizens, their identity, creating a sense of belonging and activating the ever-emergent city. Its message was that the citizens of South Africa are free to create their identities, their environments and their futures, and as such it resonated harmoniously with the 2016 Biennale theme. Pieter Mathews was appointed as official curator and was assisted by Carla Taljaard.
The 2016 Cool Capital South African pavilion presented highlights from the 2014 Cool Capital Biennale. This so-called ‘guerrilla biennale’ stimulated the inhabitants of Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, to engage with their environment as an act of taking ownership. That year saw the public in general – including built environment professionals, visual artists, theatrical producers and filmmakers, and learners from various schools – imagine, plan and execute projects, events and happenings throughout their city. These were not curated but were carefully documented to be presented in a catalogue and a documentary film. For the 2016 Biennale, photographs, objects, the print catalogue and the documentary film were all transported to Venice. Here, for 6 months, a hall in the historic Arsenale complex became an extension of the Capital of South Africa, inhabited by the voices, ambitions and creativity of her citizens.
Opening ceremony of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia. Photograph: Werner Spies
The South African pavilion is located in the Sale d’Armi in the Arsenale, a historic building in the Venice dockyards.
Visiting the Biennale is physically and mentally taxing. Most exhibitions are designed for people to walk through the often pitch-black labyrinthine cavernous halls – turned into neutral black boxes for the occasion – against which blank canvas the chosen narrative radiates its message.
Posters placed close to the Venice Arsenale promote the South African Pavilion
Here you, the inquisitive visitor, are expected to absorb the well-lit infographic information panels on display, marvel at meticulous architectural models, reflect … and move on. At the 2016 Biennale, 64 countries and 88 private practice entries vied for the attention of visitors and the international architectural press, which in turn were eager to be impressed. In this hyper-sensory environment, even the most avid visitor quickly succumbs to mental overload and physical exhaustion. What a joy it was then to reach the Arsenale, walk up the simple timber stairs into the bright first floor and meet – above large windows overlooking the calm waters of the Arsenale harbour – the simple, electric-globe lit words, “Cool Capital”. This sign, heralding a different take on things, was seemingly haphazardly suspended from the ancient roof timbers
that span a well-lit space. And then, an unashamed multitude of exuberantly painted chairs, each unique, on which to rest a weary frame. The message was clear: relax, put your feet up and let us show you our world … our city that we too are now rediscovering and, in so doing, remaking.
“The exhibition challenged commonly held perceptions of South Africa.” A number of countries own their own purpose-built pavilions in Venice. Others, like South Africa, rent space in one of the existing buildings of the ancient Arsenale complex or elsewhere in Venice.
Mostly, the common strategy when exhibits are designed is to only use the space as a neutral void (the beautiful neighbour to the South African pavilion, an abstract ship hanging free in space, serves as a good example). In contrast, the South African entry sought to inhabit its hall, integrating with the large timber roof trusses, revelling in the well-worn floorboards, and relishing in the beautifully worn red brick walls which are so reminiscent of the red brick building tradition of our capital. The Mediterranean sun streamed in through large windows, bringing the outside in – such a vital part of South African living. In fact, this way of being – the ennobling of inherited places through taking ownership and modulating them – is what the Cool Capital exhibition and the 2016 Biennale were all about. The exhibition design was located and localised. Cool Capital made local (no matter where it is) lekker.
“Architecture can be an instrument of a humanistic civilization, not as result of a formal style, but as evidence of the ability of human beings to be the masters of their own destinies.” The entrance to the South African pavilion displays a photo of Diane Victor’s dust drawing of late President Paul Kruger, which was created in the empty Transvaal Provincial Administration Building
It stands in stark contrast to the 2014 South African pavilion, Absorbing Modernity 1914–2014. That exhibit abstracted past architecture and urbanism practice in a very academic manner to highlight the historic role architecture played in creating apartness in South African society. The 2014 entry obsessed on this past; 2016 took a view to the future. Cool Capital did not disown the past, but rather took it as fact and sought to bridge historic gaps through engaging people from all sides of various historical divides with their shared urban realities. The exhibition challenged the commonly held perceptions of South Africa. For the tourist, South Africa is the country of the Big 5 and the Safari; the Mother City and the Mountain – the 6-star “tavern of the seas”; for the businessman, mineral wealth, gold, banking and agricultural produce; for the historian and socially aware architect, erstwhile country of Apartheid, division, land of lingering social inequity, informal settlements and poverty. Cool Capital presented a different perspective, that of people who belong, want to make a difference, want to create their own destinies, where – as vocalised by a learner-participant in the documentary screened in the exhibition – citizens … do not need permission to appreciate our environment or take care of it.
The 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale called for instances where architecture is an … instrument of self-government … and a demonstration of the ability of humans to become masters of their own destinies. The South African entry showed how this can be done, and has been done, in its own capital. The focus of the exhibit on the capital city of South Africa resonated with the ideas underpinning the Biennale. Cities of which the primary function is to serve as capital are globally thought of as boring: from Canberra to Washington, The Hague to Brasilia, the bureaucratic institutions that created and occupy these cities code them. On the surface, Pretoria is no different from its peers. Long known as ‘Snor City’, a denigrating appellation, the city suffers from a poor national and international image. This exemplifies those processes the Biennale declared war against when the curator stated that … the greed and impatience of capital or the single-mindedness and conservatism of the bureaucracy tend to produce banal, mediocre and dull built environments. Capital cities condense these forces. iPitoli is no different. Cool Capital sought to subvert these forces. The 2016 South African entry started to dismantle this image of mediocrity by creating an alternative, inclusive current identity and future perspective for Snor City.
Photographer: Liam Purnell
Photographer: Liam Purnell
“Underlining all of this is the question of the role of the architect.”
1. Cool Capital’s insignia is derived from the map of Tshwane. The seductive graphic by Eric Duplan was a proposal for a mural in Pretoria
2. In 2014, the Voortrekker Monument was lit up in pink for the duration of Cool Capital, as an example of how old symbols can remain relevant in an ever-changing social and political climate
3. Faceted cardboard furniture invite visitors to pause, page through the catalogue, and spend time in the pavilion
4. A view towards the harbour, with artworks lining the sides of the exhibition space
Underlining all of the above is the question of the role of the architect, and the 2016 Cool Capital pavilion epitomised how it is changing. Architects as artists are out of sync with the world evolving around them: a threatened species, quite like a polar bear on an iceberg afloat in the seas of global warming. The new role of the architect is that of mediator and facilitator. To quote Paulo Barata, President of the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia, architecture can be … an instrument of a humanistic civilisation, not as result of a formal style, but as evidence of the ability of human beings to be the masters of their own destinies. The role of the curating architects of the 2014 Cool Capital Biennale, Mathews and Taljaard, was to ‘design’ the conditions under which an active citizenry could become enthused and engaged. This mirrors the other notable South African entry to the Biennale: the ‘enabling structures’ of Design Workshop at the Warwick Junction Markets in Durban. Design Workshop created facilitator constructions and spaces for Durban’s largest market
complex; Mathews and Taljaard designed an enabling environment for creativity and belonging for Tshwane’s citizens. Criticism? Certainly. The 2014 Cool Capital Biennale too can be criticised for having been a mostly middle-class endeavour, the modes of engagement resonating with genteel visions of urbanity. These can be forgiven seeing the restricted resources with which it was staged, as a consequence of which participation tended to be limited to well-resourced citizens. As such it is an initiative that deserves to be repeated and supported by the government so as to be able to reach more people. It was also clear that the exhibition had to be staged with a limited budget and suffered visibly from this financial under-resourcing. This disadvantage was turned into a virtue by making clever use of cheap materials and available resources, but the exhibit still could not shake the impression of having had the potential to be more. Despite these handicaps, the 2016 South African Cool Capital pavilion
1. Stone Mandala land art project in Mamelodi by Ke Neil We and Banele Khoza
managed to stand out in a very competitive crowd. It received mention in a number of international reviews and privately published guides to the Biennale, including The Venice Insider which lists it as one of the top 12 exhibitions to see at the Biennale.
2. Sixteen hand-painted chairs by learners of Hoërskool Garsfontein form a ‘theatre’ from where the documentary film DorpStad can be appreciated. In the background, a travelling sculpture by Rina Stutzer is on display
“Wallpaper* Magazine summarised that South Africa’s participation looks at how active citizens are a country’s best asset.” The internationally esteemed Wallpaper* magazine summarised that … South Africa’s participation looks at how active citizens are a country’s best asset.
The South African 2016 Biennale pavilion was one of only four entries from the African mainland and therefore constituted an essential voice from the Continent. It certainly contributed to the larger global conversation, which is the aim of the Biennale. Ours was an important message, and our voice was heard. It expressed that it is South Africa’s people, not policy and certainly not architectural icons, that matter. It spoke of how architecture is not sacred and must not demand our servitude, but that it must serve society. South Africa showed people how to make a future that they have the power to decode, take ownership of, and recode places inherited from the past, even if they are burdened by divisive histories. This is an essential message from a continent still dealing with the legacies of colonialism. In this, the South African pavilion presented an important democratising message from the Continent, for both itself and the world. The impact was considerable. The 2016 South African Cool Capital exhibition revealed that the battle for the future is playing out on the Front. We have fought in the trenches and brought news from the Front.
Photographer: Neil Human
And it was good news. •
3. A visitor to the pavilion helps herself to a catalogue and postcards featuring Cool Capital projects
References ARAVENA, A. Rationale. In: International Architectural Exhibition, & Aravena, A. 2016. Reporting from the front: Biennale architettura 2016, 28.05-27.11 Venice. Venice: Marsilio Editori, pp. 18-23. BARATTA, P. Introduction. In: International Architectural Exhibition, & Aravena, A. 2016. Reporting from the front: Biennale architettura 2016, 28.05-27.11 Venice. Venice: Marsilio Editori, pp. 14-17. BUDDS, D. 2016. Rem Koolhaas: Architecture has a Serious Problem Today. FastCompany. http://www.fastcodesign.com/3060135/innovation-by-design/rem-koolhaas-architecture-has-a-serious-problem-today. [Accessed 22-12-2016]. HUMAN, N. & NIEMANDT, C.J. (dirs). 2015. DorpStad. Unwrapping a Cool Capital. [Video recording]. Executive Producer: Mathews, P. Pretoria: Enaba Productions. INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL EXHIBITION, & ARAVENA, A. 2016. Reporting from the front: Biennale architettura 2016, 28.05-27.11 Venice. Venice: Marsilio Editori.
 Koolhaas, 2016.  Aravena, 2016: 20.  Local is lekker is a South African saying meaning: local is good, nice, tasty.  ENABA Productions.  Baratta, 2016: 15.  Aravena, 2016: 20-21.  Baratta, 2016: 15.  Makin & Tafuleni, 2016: 74.  This was located in the main building of the Giardini.  See: http://www.theveniceinsider. com/12-exhibitions-2016-architecture-biennale/ [Accessed 22-12-2016].  Stathaki, 2016.
KOOLHAAS, R. Closing keynote for the 2016 AIA Convention. In: Budds, D. 2016. Rem Koolhaas: Architecture has a Serious Problem Today. FastCompany. See: http://www.fastcodesign. com/3060135/innovation-by-design/rem-koolhaas-architecture-has-a-serious-problem-today. [Accessed 22-12-2016]. MAKIN, A. & TAFULENI, A.E. From Police to Policy: The Transformation of Warwick Triangle from the Most Dangerous into the Most Lively Part of Durban. In: International Architectural Exhibition, & ARAVENA, A. 2016. Reporting from the front: Biennale Architettura 2016, 28.05-27.11 Venice. Venice: Marsilio Editori, pp. 74-75. STATHAKI, E. 2016. World tour: the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale’s national participations. Wallpaper*. See: http://www.wallpaper.com/architecture/we-tour-the-globe-through-the2016-venice-architecture-biennales-national-pavilions#ccTEpAR85QSOAYk1.99 [Accessed 22-12-2016].
The pavilion was set up in-situ fashion and, with generous assistance from the Italian construction company WeExhibit, was completed in record time
CREATIVE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS DESIGN ACTIVISM FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT Nowadays, being a citizen goes beyond the mere act of casting a vote on a ballot paper, and citizens are encouraged to be more proactive in addressing the social needs and issues that they’re faced with on a day-to-day basis. There are numerous ways for citizens to get involved, but design activism stands out as one bold and even daring approach towards civic engagement. Fatima Cassim
Design activism takes the form of tactical urban design interventions by citizens to address a particular issue in a more direct but also experiential manner. The nature of such activism is clearly evident in the 2016 Cool Capital interventions that saw Pretoria citizens coming together and raising their voices through creative means. Design interventions differ from traditional forms of protest in that they are not just verbal objections but rather, they intervene and disrupt the status quo in creative and often unexpected
ways. As such, design interventions offer a platform for collective, creative action with a view towards more widespread engagement and democratic dialogue among citizens. Design interventions are therefore situated at the intersection of aesthetic and socio-political concerns; this stance is what makes them so compelling as mediums for communication, especially in cities, because the aesthetic dimension of the interventions serves almost as pre-texts to discuss otherwise sensitive or contentious socio-political topics.
A pop-up exhibit for a slightly different audience: Belgian sculptor William Sweetlove was so intrigued with the idea of Cool Capital that he decided to surprise his fans by not inviting them to his exhibition at all. Instead, his famous life-size colourful dogs popped up one afternoon in Jan Cilliers Park in Groenkloof.
What can you do with the city as your canvas and a few pieces of chalk? Two street artists arrived at Church Square on a Saturday morning and started to draw. Soon numerous children had joined in. A simple creative initiative provided a fun-filled morning and temporary beauty.
“Design interventions differ from traditional forms of protest in that they intervene and disrupt the status quo in creative and often unexpected ways.”
The #MUSTFALL campaign is a good example in this regard: an intervention which turns the dominant narrative of the Fees must Fall movement on its head through humorous and quirky slogans that appeared on posters throughout Pretoria. In this way, the group of students from the University of Pretoria, led by Mariska Meyer, facilitated reflection on the current political student unrest and allowed for more students to have their voices heard on the topic. Similarly, the act of chalking, as evident in the MIFMURALS intervention,
Above An auditory experience becomes visual in this installation by Franli Meintjies, Molly Madzimbamuto and Amillie Mvula at the Association of Arts Pretoria. The strips of cloth, stitched to the fence, are a direct translation of sound recordings made in the Pretoria CBD.
saw the city as a canvas and seized the opportunity to appropriate the public space in and around Church Square in the Pretoria CBD. Interventions such as these two go a long way in making other citizens realise that having their voices heard is not resource-dependent. Essentially, the only active ingredient needed is a proactive citizen. In keeping with the sense of agency to address topical issues, there is globally a hacker attitude that is being encouraged in the making of cities and public spaces, and this is fuelled by a do-it-yourself ethos. The idea of doing-it-yourself or, by extension, designing-it-yourself is another characteristic of design activism that becomes evident in instances of civic
design interventions that are featured in this magazine. Even though few to no resources are needed to take a stand, democratic dialogues are often mediated by creative or cultural artefacts. For example, learners from the Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool took it upon themselves to contribute to a national endeavour to collect books for a primary school in Loxton that lost its library owing to a fire. Not only did the learners collect the books for their fellow students who were based at another school, but they also designed a scale model of Pretoria using the books. The book installation was created in collaboration with the WitOpWit design initiative. This hack of the book collection figuratively broke
Below Susan and Nina Attfield made 102 newspaper bags with planted seeds that they harvested from the white jacaranda trees in Herbert Baker Street in Groenkloof, with messages on used coffee sticks sourced from Spout Coffee Company. “We told everyone they’re welcome to take a bag and plant it at home. The entire bag can be planted because everything is 100% environmentally friendly.
the normative narrative of book donation and gave learners the opportunity to consider a new perspective on the inner city and to view books as vehicles of shared storytelling and shared knowledge. Such an example shows citizens coming together to nurture civic values around issues they hold dear. Persuading young people, in particular, to recognise and nurture common civic values such as respect, empathy and tolerance can go a long way in bridging the divides that are still commonplace in a young democracy such as ours. Aptly titled The Noise We Make, the sounds of the city intervention is a result of a direct immersion in the city. The intervention, at the Association of Arts, is a direct visual translation of sound recordings that Franli Meintjies and her assistants made in the inner city. This intervention connotes that the experiences of the city are not restricted to sight alone and have the potential to engage all the other senses. Moreover, what is considerable today, owing to the widespread use of social media, is that citizens can experience the interventions,
even if they’re unable to visit the particular location of an intervention, by participating in dialogue behind the comfort of their screens. The Cool Capital interventions presented in this catalogue indicate that there are multiple sites of engagement. Accordingly, the Cool Capital design interventions enjoyed airtime off- and on-screen and were able to reach a broader audience. Overall, what the featured interventions indicate is that people who are involved in the creative industries, such as architects, designers and artists, often take the lead in mobilising other citizens to action. However, design activism is not only reserved for the so-called “creative class”. Hence, the challenge now remains to get more citizens to recognise that they have a voice and to give that voice power. Ultimately, the repeated tactical moments of disruption as a form of rallying action towards the common good in the city may pave the way for more strategic imperatives. It will also help to create awareness towards more concrete, civic action and reflection in the capital city.
Left and below Blow Your Sculpture brought artists together to explore the art of glassblowing, and organised an outdoor pop-up exhibition at the National Botanical Gardens. Artworks were carefully displayed amongst the trees and lit up for the exhibition opening that coincided with a live performance by brass band Jazz Cantina.
Above 2016 – The year of #everythingmustfall. A group of art students joined the trend with their own humorous campaign #mustfall. A variety of quirky posters appeared alongside roads in Pretoria and on campus, many commenting on preconceptions about neighbourhoods and people in the city.
Left and Above Pretoria-based sculptor Anton Smit donated the sculpture Morpheus to the city and invited the public to help him add some colour to the piece by painting it. People of all backgrounds arrived one Saturday morning at Menlyn Maine to assist him. Anton laid out the plan of action, and the troops seized their paint brushes. A mini-movie produced by Jan Menzel and Felix Meyburgh captures the spirit of this group effort: youtu.be/0NPyX0J90C0. Left Josly van Wyk collaborated with the Grade 11 learners of Hoërskool Hendrik Verwoerd to curate a public exhibition entitled Nomadic Objects, which was held in Rietondale Park. They investigated the artistic potential and cultural significance of household waste by developing a series of quasi-functional sculptural artworks to entice community members to reuse waste materials.
Right Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool participated in a national project to collect books for a primary school in Loxton which had burnt down. However, before sending the books off, a scale model of Pretoria was built in collaboration with design trio WitopWit. In the spirit of Cool Capital, this pop-up installation presents a different perspective on the inner city, and also talks of the many interwoven stories and the lives lived over many years.
Right An increasing number of muggings and attacks are taking place in Pretoria’s open spaces, resulting in people avoiding these areas and leading to their eventual degradation. A rhino statue entitled the The Preservator by sculptor Francois Coertze is attracting visitors to Fort Klapperkop again. The rhino is a guardian that looks out for the city, but its physical presence has also encouraged citizens to take ownership of open spaces in the city.
Below Marina Giovitto Ehlers and her Mosaic Arts team along with the Waterkloof House Preparatory School (WHPS) Grade 7 boys created a mosaic group project inspired by Picasso’s Three Musicians. 49 learners took part, each making a section of the bigger mosaic. The segments were combined to form a 1,2m x 2m outdoor mural. The finished project adorns the school music block.
Right In line with the 2016 theme “Small is Big”, Laerskool Hennopspark decided to erect a statue on the school grounds symbolising the big dreams even small children have. The learners participated in the unveiling process by cutting ribbons on which they had written the fears that impede their dreams and sowed seeds around the base of the statue - a collective effort to inspire growth in each.
Right The Honours class at the Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria, came up with several theoretical proposals for Cool Capital projects. The proposals were part of the students’ work in the research field Human Settlements and Urbanism, led by Dr Carin Combrinck. One such project, Cool Beads, investigated the possibility of supporting crafters in the Plastic View informal settlement in Moreletapark, in order to generate funds to improve the provision of water to the site. Currently, four JoJo tanks provide each of the 3000 residents with a shocking 17 litres of water per day. The students’ idea was simple: local people would use their craft skills to produce key chains, and the students would offer their design skills and technical expertise. The ‘craft currency’ would be used to upgrade infrastructure so that less water is wasted and the water point becomes a productive node within the community. The project was unfortunately never fully realised, but it did provide the students with valuable insight into grassroots community projects, and the crafter, Talent, with much needed income. The Cool Beads Project was initiated by Henry Mathews, Mia Hofman, Reynders Venter, Anita Janeke & Timme-Loise Burger.
These Pretoria girls couldn’t miss out on the fun and celebrated their hometown right where they were – in Da Nang, Vietnam. Anica Cronje, Anke Kuhn and Bronwyn Aspeling spread some Cool Capital spirit in a local bar and on its sidewalk, leaving passers-by inspired by our local initiative.
*Fatima holds a master’s degree in Information Design and lectures at the University of Pretoria. Her research focuses on the culture of design, in particular design activism and the possible impact it may have on design citizenship.
Fostering awareness of the VISUAL ARTS
ARTISTS the opportunity to exhibit their work
Assisting ARTISTS to develop their skills
Photographer: Renee Barnard, AHMP.
Hoekstene vir die stad se toekoms Melinda Shaw Steel sculptures and stop-motion animations; mosaics and mixed media; ceramics and concrete … every imaginable medium was employed by the 14 schools who participated in the 2016 Atterbury Trust High School Art Project. And what a burst of creativity was captured for posterity… The project’s structure, which pairs up a school with a professional, working artist, embodies the Cool Capital principle of citizens working together, bringing their various skills to the table for a greater creative purpose. The theme for 2016, “Small is Big”, drove that message home, providing a wonderful creative inspiration for all participants to see their personal
contribution, however small, become part of the bigger picture that each school created. This in turn added to the even bigger tapestry of public art with which Cool Capital 2016 enriched the Jacaranda City. As mens met die professionele kunstenaars wat betrokke was as projekleiers gesels, kom dit uit een mond – waardevolle saadjies word deur hierdie projek geplant wat Pretoria in ‘n lushof sal verander. En nie net wat kuns betref nie, maar ook as ‘n toonbeeld van hoe ‘n stad se mense kan handevat en ‘n verskil maak. Kunstenaar Jan van der Merwe het vanjaar Afrikaans Hoër Meisieskool met ‘n gemengde-media portretprojek gehelp.
Vir hom is dit waardevol dat leerlinge met hierdie projek die geleentheid kry om op een projek te fokus en regtig die proses van kunsskepping te ervaar. “Eerder as net nog ‘n opdrag wat hulle ingee vir punte, sien hulle hoe dit is om ‘n projek te neem vanaf konsep en navorsing; hoe om materiaal te identifiseer en dan tegniek te bemeester, en dan om die werk regdeur tot by ‘n uitstalling te neem. Dit gee ‘n voorsmakie vir dié wat kuns gaan verder vat,” verduidelik hy. Vir ‘n verandering plaas dit kuns ook in die kollig, en wys vir die res van die skool en ouers dat kuns wel ‘n platform is wat groot impak kan hê. Goitseone Moerane agrees, the young artist worked with the learners of Soshanguve Secondary School, which doesn’t offer art as a subject, to create a 5m x 4m mosaic showing a pair of hands supporting the roots of a growing tree. This impactful work was installed on the wall at the school’s entrance as a permanent message of hope and inspiration. “The project has been wonderful for the learners, and it has also been rewarding for me as an artist. Finally, I found
something I can do with my art that goes beyond fulfilling myself personally,” says Moerane. “Seeing these youngsters get involved with such passion and brighten up when they realise that their efforts will have a lasting, beautiful impact, has been so rewarding.” Many public schools simply don’t have the resources to offer art as a subject – a tragedy for the creative youngsters who will never even know that they could make a sustainable living from art, says Moerane. “This initiative changes all that; with one project it gives a view of a different outcome, and I could see these kids change their perspective on art, and on their future.” Learners were exposed to a variety of styles and media, mastering an array of artistic disciplines in the process. The participating schools represent the entire spectrum of Pretoria’s inhabitants from all backgrounds and abilities, even schools that don’t offer art as a formal subject. Yet the unifying spirit of creativity was apparent in every single project. Back in 2014 when Cool Capital and the Atterbury Trust High School Art Project first cut its teeth, the net was thrown wide in an attempt to involve as many schools as possible. This time, using the learnings from 2014, the end results showed a growing maturity, with thoughtful and well-conceived and -executed projects. Thematically, the works explore issues around identity, juxtapositions of the past and future of South Africa, and sensitivity about the environment. “Histories is kunstenaars nog maar altyd van weldoeners en beskermhere afhanklik, en Cool Capital sou sonder die ondersteuning van mense soos Atterbury nie kon gebeur nie,” sê sameroeper Pieter Mathews. “Ons het begin by die borge oor wie ek seker was, en het geweet dat ons op Atterbury Trust kan staatmaak – ons ken hulle as ‘n organisasie met ‘n liefde vir die stad en ‘n passie om terug te ploeg.” Vir Atterbury Trust is die skolekunsprojek ‘n natuurlike uitvloeisel van die talle opvoedkunde- en kultuurverwante
bedrywighede waarby hulle betrokke is, sê uitvoerende trustee Zahn Hulme. “Ons stad se voorkoms is vir ons belangrik, en al Atterbury se eiendomsonwikkelinge probeer om visueel treffend te wees. Cool Capital doen dieselfde deur kuns in openbare ruimtes te plaas. Almal word genooi om saam te werk en ons stad mooi te maak. Ons is mal oor die idee dat ons stad se kinders haar ‘n ‘make-over’ gee, en dis ‘n eer om die een te wees wat die ‘grimering’ skenk.” Die projek werk op elke moontlike vlak, meen Hulme. “Dit stimuleer kinders by skole wat nie kuns as vak het nie en wys dat kuns ‘n loopbaanopsie is deur die blootstelling aan die professionele kunstenaars wat saamwerk,” sê sy. “Maar meer nog, dit leer kinders burgerlike verantwoordelikheid – die besef dat dit op ons elkeen se skouers rus om ons omgewing mooi te maak. Dit bemagtig kinders deur te wys dat jy nie altyd met bak handjies na die owerhede hoef te draai as iets skort nie, maar kan saamspan as burgers, en self ‘n verskil maak. Ons glo dis hoe mens Suid-Afrika gaan verander: as almal eienaarskap neem van wat hulle na aan die hart lê, en praktiese stappe doen om dit te laat werk.” Dit is uit hierdie geloof dat Atterbury Trust se beursprogram vir belowende maar behoeftige studente gebore is. Die Trust befonds tans namens Atterbury se netwerk van donateurs sowat 200 voltydse studente aan verskeie tersiêre instansies regoor Suid-Afrika. Dit was ook met die beursprogram in die agterkop dat Atterbury Trust die skolekunsprojek aangegryp het: hier was ‘n geleentheid om die program aan meer skole en meer behoeftige potensiële studente bekend te stel, sê Hulme. En dit het gewerk: danksy die blootstelling by skole, is daar reeds heelwat meer beursaansoeke ontvang as in vorige jare. The biennale has proven its ability to open doors for young artists, as happened with Selwyn Steyn. Steyn was a pupil at St Alban’s College in 2014 and the driving force behind the school’s entry for the inaugural Cool Capital – a mural called Past/Future. Following Cool Capital 2014 Steyn, now an architecture
student at The University of Pretoria, received a professional commission by City Property to create a mural at its 012central precinct. Cool Capital and Atterbury Trust are satisfied that the school art project is creating a positive footprint. The art outcomes remain the property of each school, which can decide where it is exhibited. Says Mathews, philosophically, “It is an inherent human need to want to make your mark on the world. These projects add value to the environment, and it’s a lasting legacy – you can return and say, look, there’s my bench. You can bring your kids to your old school and show them the mosaic that you worked on when you were in matric. Art is unique in what it can achieve, with visual outcomes that move people. It’s so often underestimated. Art is more than a narrow subject – to create art requires so many different inputs: research, problem solving, time management, lateral thinking…” En dít is waarheen die wêreld beweeg, meen Mathews. Kuns leer laterale denke en kreatiewe probleemoplossing, wat die vaardighede van die toekoms is. Die droom, sê Zahn Hulme, is dat die Atterbury Trust Hoërskoolkunsprojek met elke biënnale in gehalte sal groei. “Ons wil dit ontwikkel as ‘n platform vir meer jong kunstenaars om hul talent te wys aan potensiële kliente, en terselfdertyd ‘n inspirerende, blywende bydrae te maak tot hulle omgewing, wat elke Pretorianer kan bereik.” Een ding is seker: om ‘n stad met openbare kuns te vul, inspireer sy inwoners, en benewens die verfraaiing, getuig dit van deelname en hoop, en van ‘n dinamiese gemeenskap wat eienaarskap neem, omgee en saamspan.•
*Melinda Shaw is ‘n kommunikasiekonsultant en die besturende direkteur van Shaw Media. Sy was vir agt jaar die hoofredakteur van die tydskrif Heat, en sy vind the kreatiwiteit wat Cool Capital ontsluit inspirerend.
PRETORIA HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS Artist: Diane Victor Teacher: Samantha Eaton, Jaqui Greenberg Amidst 2016’s violent protests, a group of high school learners made their voices heard. In a pop-up intervention, the statues of the 55 struggle heroes at the National Heritage Monument in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve were blindfolded. The school’s motto, “We Work in Hope,” was translated into all 11 official languages and printed on the blindfolds. The act of blindfolding metaphorically hinders the heroes from seeing the tension and unrest in RSA. Hope means to trust blindly in something bigger than your current situation or circumstances. The intention was for the sculptures (and all South Africans) to look beyond our differences and have confidence in what cannot yet be seen.
SOSHANGUVE SOUTH SECONDARY SCHOOL Artist: Goitseone Moerane Organisers: Cesca Wolos-Fonteno, Stephen Kotch For Goitseone Moerane and learners at Soshanguve South Secondary School artistic expression is a means of communal empowerment and reflection. The learners were challenged to consider which aspects of their environment would assist them in achieving their future aspirations. Three evident themes emerged, namely the natural environment, educational institutes, and support from the community. These elements were combined in a mosaic mural representative of their hopes for the future.
CRAWFORD COLLEGE PRETORIA Artist: Gerhard Snyman Teacher: Suzette da Serra Working in pairs or individually, art students at Crawford College created self-portraits exploring current social and environmental issues. The project also gave the learners the opportunity to experiment with digital media. The individual portraits, printed on canvas, now adorn the wall at the main entrance to the college.
EDUPLEX HIGH SCHOOL / HOëRSKOOL Kunstenaar: Nina Torr Onderwysers: Christine Webb, Karien de Beer Die leerders by Eduplex Hoërskool het ‘n muurskildery geverf om die voorheen somber ingang te verfraai. Díe ontwerp is gebaseer op Graad 11 leerling Claudia Ferreira se idee. Die vliegtuie, wat hoog en ver oor die wêreld vlieg verteenwoordig ‘n tiener se verbeeldingswêreld.
HOëRSKOOL WATERKLOOF Kunstenaar: Gordon Froud Onderwyser: Bonnie Ras Sewe tydelike installasies het saam ‘n kuns-kronkelroete op die skoolterrein gevorm. Die temas van die installasies het gewissel van herwinning, weeskinders, die balans tussen lewe en dood en genetiese siektes van die dag, tot die invloed van die skoolomgewing en van leerders op mekaar. Herwinbare materiale en voorwerpe is ingespan asook verf, tou en draad.
PRETORIA TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL Artist: Sybrand Wiechers Teacher: Liesel Bongers Sybrand Wiechers was passionate about working with Pretoria Technical High School, a school which does not offer art as subject. The artist wanted to show learners how their technical skills could be applied in a completely different field. A steel sculpture was made from small welded representations of technical drawings. The sculpture took the form of a life size figure that incorporates the torch and wings from the school emblem.
CORNWALL HILL COLLEGE Artist: Martyn Schickerling Teacher: Annerie Schickerling The individual’s strength lies in camaraderie with fellow learners. This theme was explored at Cornwall Hill College where learners painted crests for the different school houses on small wooden disks. Each disk was inserted into a pipe in the life-size abstract human figure constructed by participating artist Martyn Schickerling.
HOëRSKOOL OOS-MOOT Kunstenaar: Evette Kruger Onderwyser: Christine Watters Keramiekkunstenaar Evette Kruger het saam met leerders van Hoërskool Oos-Moot ondersoek hoe die menslike vorm sou verander vanuit die perspektief van die bekende kunsbeweging Surrealisme. Pretoria se eie Alexis Preller het gedien as inspirasie. Winkelpoppe is as basis gebruik en elke leerder het ‘n eie borsbeeld uit klei gemaak. Die beelde sal deel vorm van ‘n beeldetuin op die skoolgronde.
PROSPERITUS SECONDARY SCHOOL, EERSTERUST Artists: Izanne Wiid, André Naude, Liebet Jooste Teacher: Kabelo Mogale After her first visit to the school, artist Izanne Wiid dismissed her initial idea to work with aspects of identity and decided that this school needed art that was both functional and aesthetic: no seating had been provided on the drab grounds of Prosperitus Secondary; nor were there places with which learners could engage creatively. Simple concrete benches were provided and then covered in graffiti. Graffiti, which is seen as a rebel art form, was appropriate to Cool Capital’s vision of people taking responsibility for their environment. As a ‘free-forall’ art form it was a great way for the learners to express themselves.
AFRIKAANSE HOëR MEISIESKOOL PRETORIA Kunstenaar: Jan van der Merwe Onderwyser: Renée de Beer Jan van der Merwe het leerders van die Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria uitgedaag om met ‘n spontane benadering ‘n kunswerk op te dra aan ‘n vrou wat ‘n belangrike rol in haar lewe speel. Herinneringe aan die persoon wat bygedra het tot die kunstenaar se selfontwikkeling, het gedien as inspirasie. Daar is met ‘n verskeidenheid mediums geëksperimenteer om te sien waartoe die kunswerk homself verleen. Die kunswerke is eenders geraam en as ‘n versameling uitgestal.
HOëRSKOOL GARSFONTEIN Kunstenaar: Tineke Meijer Onderwysers: Annie van Tonder, Olga van der Merwe Hoërskool Garsfontein se kunsprojek vier die Pretoria-omgewing se unieke plantegroei, insekte en voëls. Die ontwerp- en kunsleerders, saam met entoesiastiese onderwysers en kunstenaar Tineke
Meijer, het elk ‘n mosaïek ontwerp wat ‘n spesie van hul keuse uitbeeld. Die eenvoudige tema het leerders toegelaat om te fokus op die bemeestering van ‘n nuwe tegniek, eerder as op konsepte. Die blokke is aangebring op bankies in die kunstevierkant.
PRETORIA BOYS HIGH SCHOOL The Button Project
Artist: Steven Delport Teacher: Joni Jones The class discussed gender roles in modern society. They wanted to express how this affects young men in an installation which adorns the boundary fence on University Road. Each boy cast a concrete button (symbolising a masculine role) which they then sewed to the fence (symbolising a feminine role which they now also had to assume). In the act of sewing the buttons to the fence they were also attaching themselves to Pretoria and to its people, becoming involved citizens.
The Letter Project Teacher: Donné Fincham When we celebrate what we love about our city, we develop an incentive to improve and protect it. The project encouraged learners to discover parts of the city they did not know previously, to write an ode to Pretoria, and to build three-dimensional letters which were decorated with a variety of textures. At the school, letters were selected and used by the class to spell out a rugby-field-sized letter to Pretoria.
NUWE HOOP SKOOL Organiseerder: Gwen Miller (kunslektor by UNISA) Kunstenaars: kunsstudente verbonde aan UNISA Graad 9 leerders van Nuwe Hoop Skool het geleer hoe om stopraamanimasievideos te maak, met gratis rekenaarsagteware en deur materiale wat maklik bekombaar is te gebruik. Die stories, wat op gedigte gebaseer is, is eenvoudig – ‘n donderstorm wat losbars en ‘n ontmoeting tussen mense. Leerders het self die stelle gebou en geverf, en klei-karaktertjies gemaak of poppe gebruik. ‘n Reeks foto’s is geneem met selfone op polistireen driepote. Die idee is om te werk met dit wat maklik bekombaar is sodat dié wat geïnspireer is, animasies in hulle vrye tyd kan maak.
HOëRSKOOL DIE WILGERS Kunstenaar: Guy du Toit Onderwyser: Bianca Viljoen Op ‘n subtiele wyse plant hierdie projek ‘n kunssaadjie by Hoërskool Die Wilgers. Elke leerder het ‘n drie-dimensionele objek in was gevorm wat iets van hulle identiteit weerspieël. Hierdie wasbeelde is in brons gegiet tydens die Capital Open Foundry Day by Guy du Toit se gietery. Die klein beeldhouwerke is toe op onverwagse plekke op die skoolterrein ‘versteek’ sodat leerders elke dag ‘n stukkie kuns êrens op die skoolterrein kan ontdek.
During September and October of last year, MAP (Modern Art Project) South Africa invited artists living and working in Pretoria to deliver one work “salon-style” to their gallery space in Eastwood. In true Cool Capital spirit the exhibition was uncurated and could include deceased artists who had left their mark on the Pretoria Art Scene.
MAP PRETORIA BORN & BRED Salon-style exhibition fills up Harrie’s Pancakes in Eastwood 43
Works were displayed as they arrived over the weeks. A minimum distance of 7cm was always left all around each artwork, and the layout created attractive uncurated walls. Most artworks were delivered by the artists themselves, and the tables in the restaurant filled up with young and older artists reminiscing about their time in the capital city. Some patrons also brought works by artists Pierneef and Battiss which were displayed alongside the other artworks. Over 100 works were received by the cut-off date, and the event was incredibly well-received: it became apparent that patrons were not aware of how many famous artists had roots in the capital city. Many were born, grew up and studied in Pretoria but preferred to continue their careers in other cities or on other continents. *Modern Art Projects South Africa (MAP SA) is a registered non-profit organisation with the aim to promote and support contemporary art and develop a rich and diverse community of artists in South Africa.
Trigonometry bench, National Botanical Gardens, Brummeria Designed by Carmen Horsten Manufactured by Daniel Nell
Photographer: Alet Pretorius Photographer: Alet Pretorius
David Phooko’s Re Bohle bench means “we are together” in Northern Sotho and was designed to encourage social interaction in Burgers Park. [Department of Architecture, Tshwane University of Technology]. Manufactured by Anton Smit
Since 2014 PPC Cement and Cool Capital join hands every two years to create ten bespoke cement benches as a gift to the city.
Photographer: Pieter Mathews
4 + 4 bench, Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary Designed and manufactured by Anton Smit
Diane de Beer
Most of us who drive around the city will be unaware of the dearth of public benches that can provide an opportunity for you to simply catch your breath if walking is your most-used mode of transport. Think about it: this is a city where so many walk daily – and usually not for leisure. The 2014 Cool Capital PPC public bench project addressed this issue along with many other benefits involved. The project was awarded a BASA Innovation Award in 2015, and was taken further this past year with long-term plans for the future. “This is a legacy project,” says architect and instigator of Cool Capital, Pieter Mathews. “It is Cool Capital’s greatest gift to the city,” adds the convener of the project as he expands on their vision. With the initiative focused on building bridges through social interaction, while making art a visible part of the city as well as accessible to all citizens, the benches fit the profile perfectly.
This year’s collaboration between Cool Capital and PPC is a continuation of the initial success three years ago which produced ten benches across the city, including the koeksister-shaped bench at the Voortrekker Monument and the moustache-driven ball-and-claw bench on Church Square, playing with the image and past ambitions of civil servants prior to 1994. This time around 13 benches are in play, with Jana Kruger and Carla Taljaard, both from Mathews and Associate Architects, co-ordinating the project. Designers were selected from different places following an open invitation on social media. Under the guidance of their lecturer Pieter Greyvensteyn, 4th year students at the TUT architecture department were tasked with producing designs, of which five were selected for manufacture.
The project was part of their formal training, and once five of their designs were given the nod, these individual students were teamed with artists, including master sculptor Anton Smit and his wife Roelien who worked with Lungile Gumede and David Phooko. Sculptor Danie Nell guided JP Albasini and Oz Mutshinyali, and Francois Visser, also a sculptor, teamed up with Michael Allen and Greyvensteyn whose design had been given a thumbs up. This was a process in which the students experienced mentorship – the passing on of skills by masters in their field who also reaped rewards from the experience – and, specifically for the first timers in this field, working on something that progressed from design to completed object. Smit comments that guiding a young designer through the creative process, from carving her design out of polystyrene to the final casting, results in a cross-pollination that benefits everyone involved.
As someone who often uses public transport, she knows that there are very few places to linger for those moving around in the city. With her design, she wanted to come up with something that would offer people time out. “I wanted them to lie down if they wanted,” she explained of her lay-over bench. Describing herself as a people watcher, she loved the idea of finding somewhere she could relax while watching. “It adds colour and vibrancy to a city”. Her particular bench has a curved shape which reminds her of movement, which is what people in a city do. “They’re constantly on the move,” she says.
Photographer: Carla Taljaard
As the only female student whose work was selected, Gumede’s bench will aptly feature on Lillian Ngoyi Square, currently under construction in the shade of the State Theatre building. She was as inspired by the design aspects as she was by the choice of setting for particular benches, which also plays a huge role in determining both the design and where a vacuum exists in the public space for those looking for respite.
Photographer: Pieter Mathews
He also loves the whole Cool Capital/PPC benches project because it is an artistic endeavour that enhances life for everybody. It also makes people – those on the creative side and those watching with appreciation – more design conscious.
Photographer: Jethro Miller
1. Anton Smit mentored architecture students Lungile Gumede and David Phooko. They paid weekly visits to Anton’s studio to work on their benches 2 & 3. +lay_over bench, to be installed at Lilian Ngoyi Square. Designed by Lungile Gumede [Department of Architecture, Tshwane University of Technology] Manufactured by Anton Smit
Photographer: Alet aPretorius
5 & 6. Designer Pieter Greyvensteyn used the symbolic lion as inspiration for his bench, which references Lion Bridge in the city, but also the much-loved lion on the locally-made matches of the same name Photograph supplied by Pieter Greyvensteyn
Other designers besides the students included many of those involved in the project such as convenor Mathews, Danie Nell and Francois Visser, as well as sculptor Isa Steynberg assisted by her artist son Sybrand Wiechers. Steynberg selected a maquette by her father, the sculptor Coert Steynberg, and tells that he often worked with a hands motif, as have many artists through the ages. “It’s about support,” she explains, but it also resonates with her as an artist who would be nothing without her hands. Her whole family of artists (her father, son and herself ) relies on their handwork which she also describes as ‘my life’s work’.
Photographer supplied by TedXPretoria
4. Julian Lombaard and Tokollo Mogorosi climb over the newly installed Lion bench at the Union Buildings. Lion bench, Entrance to the Union Buildings, Madiba Street. Designed by Pieter Greyvensteyn [Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Tshwane University of Technology]. Manufactured by Schmeckt Creations (Francois Visser and Elani Willemse). Photographer: Alet Pretorius
Photographer supplied by TedXPretoria
1. Pieter Mathews on his Mandela Profile bench Rivonia Trial A Re Yeng bus station, Paul Kruger Street Designed by Pieter Mathews. Manufactured by Schmeckt Creations (Francois Visser and Elani Willemse) & Grietjie Lee
Photographer: Neil Human
“Sitting down is a human condition, so what better way than to be creative with it. Pretoria is a beautiful city with an abundance of historical buildings and parks which we often miss out on due to the pace of life.”
Photographer: Alet Pretorius
Photographer: Neil Human
Photographer: Neil Human
2. Architecture student JP Albasini on his Coat of Arms bench, Department of Home Affairs, Pretoria Central. [Department of Architecture, Tshwane University of Technology]. Manufactured by Daniel Nell 3 & 4. On installation day Isa Steynberg received a surprise visit by Tshwane Executive Mayor Cllr. Solly Msimanga
Photographer: Alet Pretorius
5 5. Hand bench, Muckleneuk Community Garden Designed by Isa Steynberg Manufactured by Isa Steynberg and Sybrand Wiechers
For his bench, Mathews was inspired by Madiba and used his recognisable profile on a bench that was placed at the Rivonia Trial BRT Station, while Greyvensteyn took the iconic emblem on the matchbox to create his Lion bench, referencing the city’s homage to the lion as a symbol of strength, as can be seen at the two towers of the Union Building, at Lion Bridge, a local landmark, and the two lions who stand guard at Paul Kruger House. “I think the Cool Capital benches project has been an excellent experience and a terrific way of transferring useful skills from mentors to young upcoming artists,” says Danie Nell who has been a mentor and a designer. “The project links professionals and institutions together for the greater good of the city. It is much more than what it appears to be, more than simply a gift to the city, it’s a chance for young designers to strut their stuff, giving them the means and support to be able to show us their talent in a very modest, useful, and very public way. I am fortunate to be part of it,” he concludes.
Artist and mentor Francois Visser concurs: “I joined the PPC Cool Capital project in 2014 as an artist and one of the sculptors at Dionysus Sculpture Works. I acted as the project coordinator and the project won a BASA Award for innovation.” “Sitting down is a human condition, so what better way than to be creative with it. Pretoria is a beautiful city with an abundance of historical buildings and parks which we often miss out on due to the pace of life. The public purpose of the bench project was my main inspiration for getting involved in this project. It gives me the opportunity to give the people of Pretoria more than one place to slow down and appreciate the hidden gems of the city.” Benches have previously featured in cities and towns from Stellenbosch to New York, with Warsaw dedicating some city benches to their most famous classical son, Chopin. But what makes the local project so invigorating is that it is strongly driven by design. “It’s a creative innovation in cement,” explains Mathews.
#sitcool “It was born from the idea that public spaces are activated through the benches, which should serve as a catalyst for conversation between different cultural groups, inviting them to enter into conversation and, in doing so, inspire cultural exchange & integration.”
It is functional art in the public domain that’s not only accessible to people but meant for their comfort and enjoyment. It’s about resting your weary limbs halfway through a strenuous walk home, or putting a smile on someone’s face to light up that moment. Once the last bench has been installed, the Cool Capital PPC #sitcool public bench initiative will have 20 plus bespoke public benches scattered throughout the city, a visibly powerful contribution that will impact the citizens of Pretoria every day. PPC has long been involved in the artistic world, promoting the properties of cement but focusing specifically on emerging talent. Their current PPC Imaginarium Awards gives these start-up artists the scope to spotlight their talent and creativity with cement as the medium. This ambitious modern art and design awards programme which guides entrants along the way is similarly illustrated in the Cool Capital/PPC #sitcool bench project. PPC concrete specialist and the head of Imaginarium, Daniel van der Merwe, lectured the students on cement as well as the latest innovations and possibilities. “It was born from the idea that public spaces are activated through the benches, which should serve as a catalyst for conversation between different cultural groups, inviting them to enter into conversation and, in doing so, inspire cultural exchange and integration.”
“We are excited about making this a long-term project which will continuously keep on adding to the quality of public spaces and space making in Pretoria,” he confirms. Once again, Cool Capital plays smartly and with great style with its name and its objective. What could be cooler than selecting something that will appeal to everyone across the city – young and old, boy and girl, black and white? It’s not only functional, but it’s also fun. It contains a social message as it alerts those who live a more comfortable life to the discomfort in the daily lives of those who struggle to make ends meet. As Mathews so aptly points out, Cool Capital is about social interaction through art and, while it might sound pompously ponderous, they have found a way to turn this venture into objet d’art for the people. In some instances there’s a wink and a smile behind the image; in others we are reminded of the past and our dreams for the future, which are always achievable. But more importantly, it’s about people doing it for themselves. If we wait around for others to make things better, it might never happen. But if, as a Pretoria collective, we all come together and find a way to turn it into a joyous as well as a practical event, the city can be nothing else but the Cool Capital – thanks to its people. • *Diane de Beer is a freelance journalist writing about her passions: art, theatre, food, books and film.
Photographer: Alet Pretorius
1 1. The design of Danie Nell’s bench, entitled Sediment Layers, was inspired by the earth’s layers exposed by the mining activities in the Cullinan area where the bench is installed. Sediment Layers bench, Cullinan Designed and manufactured by Daniel Nell
Photographer: Jethro Miller
2. Hlanganani (“come together”) bench, Springbok Park Designed by Roelien Smit Manufactured by Anton and Roelien Smit
Photographer: Jethro Miller
Photographer: Jethro Miller
1. Roelien Smit and Lungile Gumede during manufacturing 2 - 4. Workshops at the Anton Smit Sculpture Park 5. The benches pushed the boundaries of concrete. Each design had to be approached with a different technique. Francois Visser prepares steel reinforcement for a bench
Photographer: Jethro Miller
Photographer: Neil Human
Photographer: Neil Human
Photographer: Jethro Miller
6. Isa Steynberg in her Pretoria North Studio with a maquette of the Hand bench
6 1. The Coat of Arms bench being installed with a crane Photographer: Alet Pretorius 2. The Trigonometry bench being installed with a crane Photographer: Alet Pretorius
3. Francois Visser and the team from Dionysus Sculpture Works install the Mandela Profile bench at the Rivonia Trial A Re Yeng station Photographer: Neil Human 4 & 5. Ceramic coins on each bench identify it as unique and display the name of its designer Photographer: Neil Human 6. Wishbone bench, Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History Designed by Michael Allen [Department of Architecture, Tshwane University of Technology] Manufactured by Schmeckt Creations (Francois Visser and Elani Willemse) Photographer: Neil Human
6 1 - 6. Scale models in cement were built by architecture students to test ideas and to communicate their final designs All photos supplied by the Department of Architecture, Tshwane University of Technology
CI T Y F L AG Q+A In an increasingly globalised world where physical location plays a lesser role in our connections and subsequent formation of identities, we find that people are more attached to their cities than to their countries. The proximity found only in cities allows citizens to form a collective identity. Great cities have an official city flag which expresses this collective identity of its citizens. We at Cool Capital feel that it is time to rebrand Pretoria; to show its true colours. It is time to design an identity for Pretoria behind which we can all stand united. We need an impressive city flag!
We asked designer Annemart Swanepoel to help us with this selfappointed task. Annemart has come up with some proposals, and we would love to hear what you think. Tweet us @CoolCapital and tell us which flag you like the most. You can also leave a comment on our Facebook page. Here is what Annemart had to say about her designs: Designing a flag is not an everyday assignment. Is this an actual discipline in graphic design? Yes it is, and a very relevant one at that. There is a great TED talk on flag design by Roman Mars for those interested. The scientific study of flags and emblems is called vexillology. Under this ostentatious term we study modern & historical flags, the theory of flag development, practices of flag design, and the importance of flags in the contemporary world. Shortly, what are the underlying principles of a proper flag? Composition is crucial of course, and
the design needs to be simple and easily recognisable amongst other flags. The elements used should be carefully selected so that the flag is truly representative. What should Pretoria’s flag achieve in a graphic way? Our flag should represent us by incorporating symbols with which everyone can identify, behind which we can stand united and which we will be proud to wear! Tell us about your initial ideas – what did you want to depict in this flag? The colour purple! And perhaps a moustache … like in, snor city? No, just joking … The colour purple was the only non-negotiable element. Designing is difficult, but choosing a favourite might even be more of a challenge! Do you have a favourite? Today I would have to say no. 6, but if you ask me again in three days I’ll probably have a different answer. Why number 6? This is the ‘cleanest’ design and the most
simple. I enjoy the bright triangular shapes. They point optimistically to a symbol representative of the city, namely an iconic tower of the Union Buildings. And I have to add – I just love a dash of green to brighten things up! You refer to the Union Building towers as an iconic symbol. What other symbols present in the designs should our readers take note of? The colours of course – purple is the epitome of our beautiful Jacaranda city. Secondly, I made extensive use of triangles in all the designs. They represent taking action, minerals, technology and heritage of African pattern making. The compositional reference to our national flag refers to Pretoria’s role as the capital city of South Africa. How do you approach a project like this? Are you an intuitive designer or do you rely on research? I am more intuitive than researchdriven, but I have learned to harness this strength to use it in the research phase. A combination of the two helps me to get the right ‘mix’ on the table before I start exploring. Good design evokes feeling within the viewer. There is no exact science with which to determine this; a little intuition is required. As Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Can you predict which one will be the public’s favourite? My guess would be no.4, my second favourite by the way. *Annemart is a creative and experienced graphic designer, art director and visual translator. With an honours degree in Information Design from UP and more than 16 years of graphic design and print management experience, Annemart caters for a variety of clients from diverse industries.
1 1 + 3. Elevated beehive proposal by Liam Ullrich
H NEY H USES New approaches to the design and manufacturing of buildings and goods are becoming increasingly important due to shrinking resources, growing populations and expanding urban footprints. Jan Hugo In response, innovative designs focussing on restorative and regenerative outcomes are progressively being employed, which requires of us to return to nature as a teacher – through biomimicry and biophilic design – as a means to reconcile the relationship between humans and nature.  These design approaches provide excellent opportunities for a new reciprocal interaction between man, nature and artefacts, and integrates the interface between these various social-ecological systems. As part of an exploration of our interaction with the natural and urban environment,
2. Kinetic beehive proposal by Robert Ehlers
As project objective, the students were required to design bespoke beehives and spatial elements growing the capacity of ecosystems to thrive within the city. the 2nd year architecture students of the University of Pretoria turned to a rather inconspicuous member of the insect class – the honey bee. The honey bee, along with many pollinators, is responsible for a third of global food production and plays a vital role in healthy ecosystems. The impact of climate change, shrinking natural habitats and the use of pesticides is having a devastating effect on global pollinator populations. Therefore, early in 2016, the Honey Houses project was launched as part of Cool Capital 2016. The project considered
the opportunities for and implications of accommodating bees and providing a natural habitat for them within the urban environment. In line with the “Small is Big” theme of the 2016 Cool Capital event, the project considered means of urban acupuncture or small-scale developments which would ultimately result in significant improvements to the greater urban environment. As project objective, the students were required to design bespoke beehives and spatial elements for growing the capacity of ecosystems to thrive within the city.
The project kicked off with a highly informative briefing session with Prof. Robin Crewe and Dr Hannelie Human, from the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Advanced Scholarship and Department of Zoology and Entomology respectively. The session introduced the students to bees, their functions, group dynamics and habitat requirements. The students themselves did not come unprepared, and the discussion quickly turned to the various intricate tasks of individual bees within the greater swarm, nesting patterns and optimal positioning of beehives, as well as the various social and economic opportunities that bee-keeping presents. Well-equipped by the introductory session, the students set off to explore the opportunities which bees and beekeeping may have for the city of Pretoria. Through a series of feedback sessions with the students, a variety of innovative concepts was developed and enhanced with advice from the specialist entomologists and design lecturers. As a result, highly evocative experiments and proposals were developed – all differing in scale, articulation and intention. Ranging from multi-coloured shelters to attract bees to take refuge within, to high honey farms protected amongst towering skyscrapers. Quite a few projects dealt with the pragmatics around beekeeping and experimented with alternative beehive designs and construction methods. On the other side of the spectrum, a few projects considered historical symbolism, the spiritual role of bees, and the origins of beekeeping. As an outcome these projects explored the means of representing these historical narratives in a modern aesthetic. Unfortunately, the project was never physically realised as set out at its inception. Notwithstanding the collaboration between the entomologists and the private
sector, the students from Boukunde introduced us all to new possibilities where not only the interaction between man and nature was celebrated, but also the opportunities for collaboration between different disciplines. The various experiments questioned how nature and humans can integrate, cohabit and ultimately create relationships which are mutually beneficial. Ultimately, students learned about their vital role in shaping the future for generations to come. References:
HES, D. & DU PLESSIS, C. 2015. Designing for hope: Pathways to regenerative sustainability. Oxon: Routledge. KAY, J.J. 2002. Complexity theory, exergy and industrial ecology. In: Kibert, C.J., Sendzimir, J. & Guy, G.B. (eds.). Construction Ecology – Nature as basis for Green Buildings. London: Spon Press, pp. 72-107. WALKER, B. & SALT, D. 2006. Resilience Thinking – Sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world. Washington: Island Press.
We would like to thank Prof. Robin Crewe, Dr Hannelie Human, Derick de Bruyn and Mathews and Associates Architects for all their invaluable advice, time and assistance during the project. *After completing a degree in Architecture at the University of Pretoria, Jan Hugo and his wife decided to leave Pretoria and travel the Far East for a few years. Once they satisfied their wanderlust - they returned home to Pretoria. He now teaches Architecture at the University of Pretoria.
4. Typical beehive frame 5. Urban Apiary by Francois van der Merwe 6. Habitat Wall by Heike Schröder
Organiser’s Visual Diary Jana Kruger’s internship at Mathews & Associates Architects took an unexpected turn when the responsibility of managing Cool Capital 2016 became hers. She is currently completing her Master of Architecture degree at the University of Pretoria.
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JUST DIAL 012 Crossing Nelson Mandela Drive towards the Pretoria CBD might seem a little risky to some of Pretoria’s more suburb-loving residents, but for the past decade, the distinct precincts around Church Square have inspired, intrigued and fascinated many a Pretorian. The CBD has developed a cult group of admirers that include photographers, architects & graphic designers.
The South African Government has been the biggest owner of property in the city since it was founded, so one can be forgiven for projecting the CBD as being a bit dull. After all, it is filled with many administration, office and civic buildings, many built in the apartheid heyday of nationalist pride, stern concrete modernity and too many Afrikaner moustaches... Combine that with a mass exodus of mostly white businesses and residents during and after 1994, and you have a classic mix of changing demographics and poorer city dwellers that form part of many post-colonial urban stories. But a few astute business people stormed the tough years of transformation, and one generation’s loss is another’s gain as a new wave of citizens are rediscovering the many hidden delightful pockets in the Pretoria CBD. These include historical buildings, beautiful parks and surprising sculptures – authentic spaces without the manufactured glitz and glamour of the
eastern suburban malls. One business that has consistently adapted to and thrived on the changing demographics of the Pretoria CBD is City Property, a familyowned property management company founded in 1968.
After government, City Property is the biggest landlords in the CBD, with over 12 000 tenants. Their recently redeveloped 012central precinct is a bold step towards creating inner-city spaces that are welcoming, vibrant and open for business. 012central, together with Bank Towers, Jardown and the 18-storey modernist Prinschurch office block all form part of the State Theatre precinct.
012central consists of a repurposed warehouse and storage building that surround a well-proportioned internal courtyard with trees and grass. A 2014 Cool Capital sculpture by Strjdom van der Merwe activates this connecting courtyard.The central location and authentic aesthetic are hugely popular, and almost 6000 people attended events at 012central in 2016. 012central also welcomed the African Beer Emporium (ABE) in their midst in 2015. Located adjacent to the courtyard, this restaurant was born from a mutual love of beer and a passion for the African variety of this popular drink. 012central is a desirable mix of opportunity, creativity, innovation and community – exactly what the modern city dweller requires. Its adaptability to the physical requirements, impulses and desires of the occupants makes this inner-city space ideal for almost any enterprise. •
Regular city walks that start at 012central are a popular Saturday morning pastime. The walks meander through the CBD, taking young and old to historically significant, interesting and exciting spots, including the newly painted Jardown mural by artist Selwyn Steyn. The inaugural public bus tour took participants on a trip using the new A Re Yeng bus system.
The Design-Build Conference, organised by the Pretoria Institute for Architecture, was packed with up to date technical presentations, designer exhibitions, gourmet food stalls and screenings of architectural films.
3 Archifashion, an annual architecturally inspired fashion show arranged by the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Architecture, took place on the podium level of the Prinschurch building. This extravaganza played out with the city skyline as a backdrop.
4 Market@theSheds, the monthly inner-city market at 012central, was themed for Heritage Month to celebrate spring during Cool Capital. The stalls provided their usual craft beers, designer jewellery and gourmet foods. Live local music is a welcome addition to this monthly must.
5 Another thriving CBD project is Molo Mollo, an initiative that organises film screenings on rooftops in the Pretoria CBD. Screenings take place on Bank Towers – the former Bank of the Netherlands building by architect Norman Eaton - and at 012central.
Prinschurch hosted the TUT Every Other Day exhibition as a fundraiser for Fine and Applied Arts student bursaries. The show included 2D and 3D artworks from a broad spectrum of contributors.
The WISEST project (Walk in someone else’s shoes today) organised a city fun run in partnership with 012central. The race started and finished on Church Square and included a yoga session, live performances and a good old-fashioned party at the oldest bistro in the city – Café Riche.
8 #followtheladyinwhite attracted quite a following on Heritage Day. The performance art piece by MB Studio is part of the collective’s endeavour to bring art into the public realm.
9 The 2016 TEDxPretoria was held at 012central, as a localised offshoot of the hugely popular TED talk series. The theme was “Fast Forward”. Cool Capital was one of the “ideas worth spreading”.
*Adriaan Louw, architect, keen photographer and avid traveller, loves sharing a different perspective on the city with fellow citizens. He assists City Property in organising free walking tours each month.
NEW PUBLIC SCULPTURES offer a progressive image of the
Photographer: Lourina Grobler
by Daniel Rankadi Mosako
A bus arrives at the Nana Sita Station
Public sculpture has always characterised the visual landscape of Pretoria. It has also directed the perspectives, perceptions and social narratives of the city’s inhabitants. The many contradictions inherent in the public sculptures of Pretoria date to the 1900s with the commission to erect the landmark statue of Paul Kruger, the then President of the Republic of South Africa. This artwork has generated ongoing debate since its inception, its location already disputed before installation could commence in 1913. Ever since, avantgarde contemporary sculptures have continued to exist as landmarks which can be called art landscapes. Temporary or permanent, guerrilla or sanctioned, objective or protest-driven (such as the popular corner park sculptures of the 1980s), all sculpture stimulates the imagination of local citizens and tourists alike, and public sculpture always has multiple purposes that include heritage and education, but its aim is also to document an important
moment in time. Regardless of purpose, public pieces of sculpture are always traceable to a society or group of individuals. Ever since 1994, a great many public sculptures have been commissioned with the common goal of crafting the city’s landmarks. These include the statue of Chief Tshwane in front of the City Hall in Paul Kruger Street, the statue of late President Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings, and the Spirit of Tshwane at Menlyn Maine.
Works such as the The History Column by Diane Victor at the Nana Sita A Re Yeng bus station makes reference to city individuals involved in multiple cohesion activities, including Nana Sita, Ruth Mompati and Gandhi. Social cohesion is also emphasised by Ester Mahlangu’s work at the zoo station. It depicts connected Ndebele patterns that directly and indirectly portray the narrative on social cohesion, with different coloured shapes accommodated in one composition and referencing different races living together in the capital city.
In 2014 the city took the bold step to continue this course of action and decided that each of the new A Re Yeng TRT stations would be augmented by a different artwork that fits the station and its context. This differentiates A Re Yeng from other TRT projects such as MyCiTi in Cape Town and the Rea Vaya in Johannesburg, as it aims to strengthen the urban fabric and will have a lasting impact on the surrounding context.
The Knot by Sybrand Wiechers at the Ruth Mompati Station near the Breytenbach Theatre exhibits the many threads that weave the memories of Sunnyside together, while Banele Khoza’s tree sculpture at Johnston Street reflects the surrounding tree-lined streets of the area. Norman Catherine’s mosaic in Nana Sita Street exhibits classic elements of city life, including clocks and busy people. The city in all its diversity is further
celebrated at the General M. Soyothula Station in Hatfield by artist Titus Matiyane, whose artwork is an aerial depiction of Pretoria. The composite art landscape of Pretoria compels its viewers to have an open mind and to engage in multidisciplinary discourses, such as urban-scape aesthetics and socio-political and socio-economic debates. The city’s broad spectrum of art landscapes does not limit itself to Pretoria’s nucleus, but rallies with the monumental sculpture of Mandela that visually embraces the Freedom Park Monument, the Voortrekker Monument and the National Heritage Monument that pays tribute to struggle icons and stalwarts. A critical analysis of the city’s sculptural landscape reflects its inhabitants and demonstrates a footprint of the different lifestyles of its dwellers. Such a reflection covers various aspects, from fashion to architecture, ultimately portraying the
capital as an ideal artistic city with several sculptural “routes”. Pretoria’s sculpture collection forms part of a unique heritage collection that maps historic events from the day the city was founded. Trending into the future, an upcoming generation will continue to use monumental sculptures as the visual content of the city’s historical undertakings. • *Daniel Mosako is a South African artist & curator. He is completing a doctorate in Art History at the University of Pretoria. 1. Hare with book and rugby ball by Guy du Toit. 2. Ester Mahlangu signs her artwork 3. The translation of Ester Mahlangu’s design into mosaic by Mosaic Arts 4. Panorama of Gauteng by Titus Matiyane also translated into mosaic by Mosaic Arts 5. The History Column by Diane Victor 6. Norman Catherine used a traditional totem pole for his artwork and interpreted it with modern figures from city life 7. The Knot by Sybrand Wiechers reflects on the diverse inhabitants of surrounding Sunnyside
Photographer: Rina Noto
BENCHES A gift from RMB
Artists throughout the ages have been dependent on patrons for commissions. Today, the need for “creative champions” who endorse art and allow it to flourish is more important than ever. Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) has a firm belief in the power of art to demonstrate and celebrate human ingenuity and creativity. Following the installation of “DIFFERENTLY. THINK.”, a 6-metre life-size bronze and concrete bench, by artist Louis Olivier from the Workhorse Bronze Foundry, in front of the bank’s iconic Merchant Place Campus in Sandton, RMB and Olivier explored the idea of creating impressive, think-centered functional works of art for collaborative spaces and universities around the country. The THINK Bench is the result of a three-year collaborative effort between RMB, Olivier and intern students Allen Laing and Nkhensani Rihlapfu. Each life-size concrete bench is 13-metres long, comprising of five separate pieces, each weighing around 2-tonnes. When viewed from a specific focal point, the pieces make up the word ‘THINK’ and from other view points, contemporary life-size figures are seen interacting at different angles.
I find it more pleasing and more satisfying to just engage and make stuff, and as you make it, you discover where you’re going - and new ideas emerge.” Central to RMB is its corporate culture of collaboration where innovative thinkers are encouraged to work together to generate multi-disciplinary solutions. “The THINK benches are a thematic continuation and expansion of RMB’s THINKING brand that embraces the virtues of learning, shared-knowledge and collaboration. They epitomise contemporary ‘innovative functional art’ that redefines prominent public spaces” says Carolynne Waterhouse, marketing at RMB. “The benches are ideally aligned with RMB’s business philosophy of Traditional values. Innovative ideas. and helpfully reinforce RMB’s communication platform of ‘Thinking. Pulling. Together”. The first bench, in the limited edition of 7, will be installed at RMB in Sandton. Discussions are also underway with the University of Pretoria to finalise the optimal location for the second THINK bench.
“There are multiple ways of thinking,” says Olivier. “From the careful analysis, reflection and contemplation of the philosophers, to the practical and hands-on approach.
HANDS CAPITAL FOUNDRY DAY
Photographer: Alet Pretorius
hen the Cool Capital Sculpture Project was launched at the Van Wouw Museum in March 2014, the museum bustled with promise and enthusiasm among the more than sixty local artists who attended the event. We celebrated Pretoria, an artistic and creative hub that boasts more public sculptures than any other city in the country. We revelled in the fascinating local sculptural heritage that spans more than a century. After listening to Pieter Mathews’s enticing introduction and what he envisioned for this endeavour, some light socialising between him, myself, Angus Taylor and Rina Stutzer led to the realisation that no other city in South Africa boasted more fine art bronze-casting foundries than our beloved Capital. Over a glass of wine the ideas started rolling, and thus Capital Open Foundry Day was born.
Being fairly new to the Pretoria art scene at the time, I couldn’t possibly have known what a remarkable adventure this endeavour would turn into.
“No other city in South Africa boasts more fine art bronze casting foundries than our beloved Capital” The first instalment of Foundry Day was launched in September 2014. As a free, self-drive tour spanning two days, we had no idea how many people would attend, nor if the initiative would receive any support. But the six foundries that participated at the time jumped right in, and after day one, the word quickly spread that this was to be one
of the highlights on the Cool Capital programme. Little did we know that it would become such a magical outing that would not only be educational, but also turn out to be a fun activity for both young and old. With the 2016 instalment of Foundry Day we decided to take a more eclectic approach by downscaling the event to three foundries in one day. With such a wide variety of sculpture studios, each with its own unique identity, it was difficult to limit them to a shorter program. We decided to focus on a grouping which was slightly closer together, whilst also providing a diverse experience that would keep visitors entertained for the duration of the self-drive tour. Once again the foundry masters took to the challenge with a positive energy and enthusiasm which surpassed all our expectations.
TUT SCULPTURE STUDIO 24 Du Toit street, TUT, Arts Campus, Building 14
About the foundry: The TUT Sculpture Foundry is an academic foundry. Its main function is to train students and develop the craft of casting. It has been operating since 1968 under many artist-staff members that include Koos den Houten, Neels Coetzee, Basie Yssel, Ian Redelinghuys, Egon Tania, Guy Du Toit and Renier le Roux. The students are exposed to many different bronze casting methods and techniques.
Photographer: Alet Pretorius
Presented by Renier le Roux
The TUT students also got to show off some of the bronze life-size sculptures they were making for the National Heritage Project, to bring homage to South African struggle heroes. On completion these will join the others at the Heritage Monument in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve.
Photographer: Alet Pretorius
Beginning at TUT Sculpture, visitors were welcomed with the fun prospect of carving their very own cuttlefish moulds and experiencing the more “academic” side of sculpture. With the very helpful guidance of lecturer and host Renier le Roux and his students, both young and old could dream up their own creations which were later cast as part of the casting demonstration. Fun and laughter ensued while trying to suss out what neighbours were conjuring up in their creative minds.
Photographer: Keabetswe Nthate
1. Sculptor and lecturer Renier le Roux explains the concept of creating a bronze sculpture using cuttlefish 2. Participants carve out their cuttlefish 3 & 4. Artist Kgaogelo Mashilo shows her sculpture of Frances Baard destined for the National Heritage Monument, to participants
Photographer: Keabetswe Nthate
After our first taste of sculpture making we collected our newly cast trinkets, and then we were off to our next stop.
Photographer: Keabetswe Nthate
GUY DU TOIT STUDIO End of Atterbury Rd. Plot 120, Zwavelpoort, Pretoria East Presented by Guy du Toit
Photographer: Keabetswe Nthate
About the foundry: Guy du Toit Sculpture is a private foundry owned by sculptor Guy du Toit. Although he mainly casts his own work, he also facilitates castings for selected other artists, providing facilities for those who would not otherwise be able to cast their work. The foundry is also involved in educational projects, presenting workshops as well as community projects, seminars and symposia.
Above. The cuttlefish process and product
Towards the East, where Atterbury becomes a dirt road, lies the plot and foundry of Guy du Toit. Greeted by Guy’s whimsical and iconic hare sculptures and a breathtaking landscape, we arrived with the diesel furnace already blazing. Delicious treats and cold refreshments awaited our eager visitors. Although the sun was blazing hot, we were enthusiastic to see what Guy and his team were about to cook up. They had prepared wax casts of chess pieces, and requested that everyone take one and turn it into something interesting. Once again presented with the opportunity to let our creative juices flow, this made for some interesting and fun creations. Guy later explained that these altered waxes would, just as for the Snorre and ladders project from the 2014 Foundry Day, once again be cast for an interactive Cool Capital commemorative piece. As the crowd reworked their knights, bishops and other chess pieces, Guy’s team prepped the ceramic moulds until they were ready for the show. People stared in awe as the molten bronze was poured into the white ceramic shells. Seeing this in the bright sunlight was simply captivating. It was time to take a last sip of Credo Shiraz and move on to our next stop.
1 & 2. Guy du Toit pours bronze into moulds during a demonstration at his home foundry 3. Visitors were tasked with sculpting new chess pieces for an alternative chess board 4. Alternative Chess 5. Detail of a chess piece 6. Visitors have some lunch and a drink
Photographer: Elani Willemse Photographer: Guy du Toit
Photographer: Jana Kruger
Photographer: Jana Kruger
Photographer: ani Willemse
DIONYSUS SCULPTURE WORKS
I may be biased, but the sheer energy that emanates from Dionysus Sculpture Works is what drew me to become part of the team in the first place. When walking into the massive industrial space, you are surrounded by just about anything that has anything to do with sculpture. At first glance you are overwhelmed by rammed figures, gigantic moulds, armature skeletons and cracked clay, modelled by some of the artists who have previously cast at the studio. Then the smell of a potjie on the fire enticed our senses, and the smiling faces of the bustling DSW collective came out to greet us. Here we were encouraged to walk around and experience every process involved in the creation of sculptures. Visitors got to experience sculptures
1 in different stages of making: sculptors modelling clay masters, making silicone rubber and fibreglass moulds, the wax section working of wax casts, ceramic dipping, burning out of the waxes, metal chasing in process, and the grand finale. Two castings were made with the impressive induction furnace – a machine that can heat metal to more than 1700 degrees centigrade.
With creativity kindled and tummies full, it was time to go home. This enchanting interactive experience has become the embodiment of what a project such as Cool Capital aims to achieve, albeit simply an appreciation for the arts in all of its forms. Through making the tour a truly lived experience, each individual that attended got to take home so much more.
1. Ramito Muabsa and Estian Gericke share a joke 2. Wine for the day was sponsered by Stellenbosch Vineyards 3 & 4. Robert Ramavhale from DSW explains a mould to sculpture students 5. A demonstration pour
*Elani Willemse is an arts administrator currently employed as company liaison officer at Dionysus Sculpture Works and personal assistant to sculptor Angus Taylor. She has assisted Cool Capital with numerous initiatives since 2014.
Photographer: Elani Willemse
About the foundry: DSW was established by Angus Taylor in 1996, and is best known for its involvement in large-scale and monumental public art sculptures and installations. The studio and foundry are actively involved in a wide variety of sculpture projects, including collaborating with and casting for renowned South African artists such as Norman Catherine, Deborah Bell, Joni Brenner and Sam Nhlengethwa. DSW offers the opportunity to embrace new developments in diverse technologies, in combination with both traditional and alternative sculptural media. The studio specialises in upscaling, 3-D scanning, 3-D printing, bronze or stainless steel casting and finishing, as well as the installation of artworks.
Photographer: Elani Willemse
219 Vonkprop Rd, Pretoria Presented by Angus Taylor, Elani Willemse and the staff of Diosysus Sculpture Works
Photographer: Elani Willemse
Photographer: Elani Willemse
5 Photographer: Carla Taljaard
RELIEF MODELLING COURSE @ ARCHNEER 1153 Park Street, Hatfield Hosted by TUT Sculpture Photographs by Sunet Ferreira 1. Working on the plaster of paris details 2. Sculptor and lecturer Renier le Roux with his daughter during the demonstration 3. Particpants show off their progress 4. Detail of reliefwork by a participant 5. The finished reliefs before installation
Photographer: Pieter Mathews
SAADJIES Johan Myburg VKW van saad; kiem; begin; oorsaak; oorsprong (- die saadjie is geplant etc...)
In the 1990s a rash of pranks played out in England and France involving the theft of a garden gnome, taking it on a trip and photographing it at famous landmarks, with the photo’s sent on to the owner. The essence of this kind of practical joke, immortalised in the 2001 French film, Amélie, seems to live on in a project initiated by the Pretoria-based architectural firm Mathews and Associates Architects as their in-house contribution to the second iteration of Cool Capital. This project, called Saadjies, also referred to as #saadjies, draws on three elements prevalent in “gnome roaming”: a small piece of sculpture, extensive travelling and photographic documentation.
His initial idea was to take work from a handful of sculptors to the Biennale as a statement against the over regulation by the Biennale Foundation and its bureaucracy, and to give the 2016 official South African pavilion curator some real competition, to show him or her how creativity could be democratized. Little did Mathews know that shortly before the opening of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition on 28 May 2016 in Venice he would be appointed Curator of the South African Pavilion by the Department of Arts and Culture. What started out as a joke by purposefully inserting maquettes or miniature sculptures into the view of a photograph (à la photobombing), resulted in an uncurated, participatory and travelling project, taking art outside the elitist white cube of the gallery to the streets of various centres and to the cyber environment of Instagram and Facebook. Mulling over his ideas in conversation with Pretoria-based sculptor Sybrand Wiechers, Wiechers came up with “Saadjies” as a title for the project. “Saadjies” as in tiny seeds or seedpods – or “saadjie as in psyche,” says Wiechers, making no bones about his dyslexia. “As a first year student I battled to write down ‘Cupid and Psyche’ correctly. I wrote Psyche as ‘Saadjie’.” Which is quite apt, in a way, since the soul as innermost kernel does manifest in depth psychology.
Photographer: Neil Human
When Pieter Mathews, the principal of the award winning firm Mathews and Associates Architects and initiator of Cool Capital – “the world’s first uncurated, DIY, guerrilla biennale” staged in Pretoria – returned from the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012, he had in the back of his mind the idea to “sculpture bomb” Venice during the next Biennale in 2016.
Entwined by Kay Potts, Saint Mark’s Square, Venice Photographer: Carla Crafford
In line with the Cool Capital 2016 theme, “Small is big”, the Saadjies project was intended to demonstrate that “sculpture did not have to be monumental to have a powerful impact,” as Mathews argues. The inaugural Cool Capital in 2014 saw the start of the Sculpture Capital project, with the aim of leaving a legacy of sculpture works in the city of Pretoria. “The aim of this project was to promote the city’s sculptural heritage during future editions of the Cool Capital Biennale,” says Mathews. “Pretoria claims the pride of being the city with the biggest number of foundries in the country – both the oldest and the most technologically advanced – and is home to a number of the country’s foremost sculptors.” As the 2016 Cool Capital flagship project, sculptors were invited to submit either a set or series of small sculptures, no bigger
than 180 x 180 x 180 mm, to form part of Saadjies. The size limitations, the only prerequisite given to the participating artists, were to facilitate transport. Ranging from small works, such as Keneilwe Mokoena’s sensitive patterns in pen on a white pebble (Untitled), to the bigger Virus, made by Gordon Froud from traffic cones, more than 80 works formed the initial core of the collection. In reaction to the overwhelming response to the open invitation, Mathews and Associates decided not to limit the project to Pretoria-based sculptors, but to invite artists from all over the country. In total 75 artists participated, including established artists such as Guy du Toit, Gordon Froud, Angus Taylor, Daniel Mosako, Lwandiso Njara, Jan van der Merwe and Sybrand Wiechers, alongside up-and-coming artists, sculptors, students and enthusiasts.
1 2 Mathews’s initial plan to “sculpture bomb” the Arsenale in Venice and “to challenge the next Curator” was jeopardised to some extent when “fate, karma and passion worked in unison and the Department announced eight weeks prior to the biennale that the Curator I thought of challenging would be me,” he recalls. Within a couple of weeks he had to assemble an exhibition for the Biennale and in the end took three Saadjies with him for the vernissage attended by dignitaries and the international media. It was during this week that Wiechers’ Brick Psyche, made of brick, steel, concrete, copper, tar and glass, disappeared from the Pavilion in the Arsenale. “All the materials in the brick were found locally and, theoretically, if you planted this brick, it could grow into a city – the perfect Pretoria bomb,” was how Wiechers describes his artwork. “I was rather flattered that my work was stolen during that first week,” Wiechers quips afterwards. “I regard this as a purposeful international art theft, committed not by any passer-by, but by a renowned architect.” Mathews took a photo of two Carabinieri posing next to the empty window sill where Brick Psyche used to be displayed.
From Venice Saadjies were scattered all over the world. “I doubt if sculpture bombing on this scale had been done before,” says Mathews. “We sculpture bombed many cities abroad as well as locally. Artists and their families joined in and volunteered to photograph a Saadjie in the most unusual places: from Oppikoppi in Northwest to Kyoto in Japan, from Beijing in China and Amsterdam in the Netherlands to Richmond, Potchefstroom and Pretoria in South Africa, and of course Venice.” In Amsterdam Mathews and videographer Neil Human were busy documenting Froud’s cone virus, strategically placed between the rails of a tramline. As they were turning away from the artwork, a passer-by responded: “Are you Banksy?” Human said no, but indicated that they were contemplating leaving the work behind. At which the stranger picked up the cone virus and kept on walking. Instead of prohibiting him from taking Froud’s Saadjie, Human filmed the man, nonchalantly taking his found objet d’art with him. Like Froud’s work, many of the Saadjies found a new life in a foreign country. Sunet Ferreira and Renier le Roux’s Duwweltjies, bronze incarnations of the small spiked seeds of the weed Tribulus terrestris, were some of the most travelled
3 1. In-side / sight / cite by Leanne Olivier at Murano Cemetery, Venice Photographer: Chenette Swanepoel 2. Cool Capital Hotspots by Liekie Fouché, Venice Photographer: Carla Crafford 3. Chairs by Guy du Toit. Secret installation in the Arsenale, Venice Photographer: Neil Human
Retief le Roux took Liesl Roos’s Beijing Stars to a congress in Beijing. These glass drops with magnets attached to them are still sitting somewhere in China, part of the Saadjies distribution that will not return to South Africa.
Portrait of a plot house by Angus Taylor, North West Province Madonna and Child by Daniel Nell, Dutch Reformed Church (Moedergemeente), Potchefstroom
Photographer: Pieter Mathews
Many friends of artists taking part in the project offered to take Saadjies on international travels. Odette Graskie’s wooden sculpture, The Grin, attended this year’s Oppikoppi near Northam in Northwest, but also went to Sylt, the island in the North Sea, with artist Nina Kruger as part of her residence after winning a Barclays L’Atelier merit prize. Graskie devoted a blog to The Grin’s travels (www.thegrinart.wordpress.com).
Photographer: Pieter Mathews
artworks, visiting Berlin, Greece, Venice, Amsterdam and Spain. These tiny bronzes were strewn on a road where they embedded themselves in car tyres or the soles of shoes and sandals – minute artworks taking on a life of their own.
After installing the exhibition in the South African Pavilion in Venice, Guy du Toit left behind two tiny bronze chairs, hidden in the roof structure of a Venetian building. An unplanned by-product of the Saadjies project was the subtle manifestation of a “gift economy,” or at least a “circulation of gifts” co-existing uncomfortably with a market economy, in a transaction culture where everything is measured in monetary terms. “Although some artworks in the Saadjie collection are available as editions that could be purchased from the artists or their respective galleries, in theory the collection belongs to everybody – hence the exhibition on social media for all to enjoy,” remarks Mathews. “Creativity is not about money but about looking at what you’ve got and reimagining it,” the website archinect.com quotes Mathews speaking at the Biennale in May 2016. “In that sense,” the website added, “the work displayed in the South Africa Pavilion democratizes creativity.”
With some Saadjies leaving the project, as indicated, new ones are constantly joining the project – such as a work by Thabo Pitso, an artist known for repurposing trash. His sculpture Sins of Our Fathers is a comment on the effects of consumerism and the living and working conditions of factory workers who are mass-producing objects. “The factory worker is crucified for the sins and greedy needs of the buyer,” Pitso says of his work that did not travel to Venice and Amsterdam, but was exhibited at the first of a series of more formal and curated exhibitions at the Van Wouw Museum in Pretoria in September 2016. Curator at the Anton van Wouw Museum, Daniel Mosako, officially opened this exhibition, curated by Jana Kruger and generously sponsored by the art auctioneers Strauss & Co.
The following month the collection was exhibited at the Aardklop Arts Festival in Potchefstroom. In collaboration with the MTN Foundation, one of the sponsors of the visual arts programme at Aardklop 2016, an audience that would have had little chance of visiting a gallery could see the exhibition. Learners from all over Potchefstroom were taken on guided tours of the Aardklop exhibitions, including Saadjies. For these art safaris for children at Aardklop, MTN received the Aardvark Innovation Award. When Saadjies was shown in Richmond in the Karoo later in 2016, the Modern Art Projects South Africa (MAPSA) Gallery was filled with youngsters who may never have been in touch – so to speak – with small artworks, recalls Carla Crafford, official photographer of the
1 Saadjies project. “The care with which the children approached the work and their amusement at recognizing familiar objects, and learning about less familiar ones, will stay with me for a long time.” This exhibition coincided with the Richmond Book Festival and the annual draadkar (wire car) race. MAPSA proactively serves and acts as a catalyst in creating an increased awareness of art in the public and commercial spheres, as well as facilitating the advancement of art research, art practice and culture in South Africa. While MAPSA has assisted a diverse group of South African artists, showcasing their work locally and internationally, it keeps on forming networks and facilitating breakthroughs on both a grass-roots level and on major platforms. On a small scale MAPSA has been creating opportunities for the Richmond locals. “Vrek, Werk of Trek” is a brickmaking incentive that was initiated by Gabriel Snyders many years ago. His son Trevor Snyders has taken over the business since, keeping alive an old-world method of making the bricks, using manual labour and a donkey to mix the clay and sand. Snyders, in collaboration with MAPSA, produces “alphabet bricks” with the idea that artists can create “concrete” poetry. The “seed” was indeed
2 1. Hoeveel letters om ‘n huis te bou? by Trevor Snyders, Richmond. Photographer: Harrie Siertsema 2. Mongoose by Brian Ncube, Richmond. Photographer: Carla Crafford 3. Saadjies banner outside the exhibition, Richmond. Photographer:Pieter Mathews 4. Mini Brick Sample Photographer: Abre Crafford
In keeping with the original intention of creativity as a democratic endeavour and the participatory nature of this project, Saadjies started to extend beyond expresions traditionally considered as sculptural mediums. 4
“Dazzling in colour and inventive in design, the embroideries made by the women of the Mapula Embroidery Project engage compellingly with social and political issues that have shaped the lives of their makers. Over the years Mapula have become highly collectible, won numerous awards and have been exhibited in Greece, Germany and England.”
2 1. Tortoise by Dorah Hlongwani (Mapula Embroidery Project), Winterveldt Photographer: Neil Human 2. Elsie Maluleke explains the thinking behind her artwork for Saadjies Photographer: Neil Human
3. The Mapula Embroidery Project’s Saadjies Photographer: Neil Human 4. Embroidery by ladies of the Mapula Embroidery project depicts issues that have shaped the lives of their makers Photographer: Neil Human
planted! Snyders contributed an “A” brick to the Saadjies project – the first in a series of alphabet bricks. In keeping with the original intention of creativity as a democratic endeavour and the participatory nature of the project, Saadjies began to extend beyond expressions traditionally considered as sculptural mediums.
Photographer: Neil Human
In Winterveldt, to the north of Pretoria, a group of women had been embroidering on fabric since the early 1990s. Dazzling in colour and inventive in design, the embroideries made by the women of the Mapula Embroidery Project engage compellingly with social and political issues that have shaped the lives of their makers. Over the years works by Mapula have become highly collectible, have won numerous awards and have been exhibited in Greece, Germany and England. In addition to the high levels of technical and visual artistry, Mapula generates an income for economically disadvantaged women of Winterveldt. When Janetje van der Merwe, involved in Mapula since the mid-1990s and currently serving as Mapula project manager, became aware of Saadjies, she saw this as an opportunity for marketing and creating awareness of Mapula.
“Community projects are not as well supported and funded as in the 1990s,” says Van der Merwe. “A lot more could be done to promote projects such as this one in Winterveldt. We argued that the visibility we could gain from being part of Saadjies would benefit us most.” Despite their enthusiasm to create work for Saadjies, the Mapula women had to overcome the obstacle that they had never worked in 3D format. Their forte had always been wall hangings with topics that speak of public histories as well their own personal experiences.
“They were a bit taken aback initially,” says Jana Kruger, Saadjies project coordinator, of this transition. “It was Dorah Hlongwani, a member of Mapula, who convinced her fellow embroiderers that they could turn working on a flat surface into Saadjies. They were given the size format and together Hlongwani, Elsie Maluleke, Selina Makwana, Rossinah Maepa and Jossinah Ntshuntsha created 17 Saadjies, reflecting their personal experiences: for Maepa her house, for Makwana her garden and for Maluleke none other than Madiba.”
Flower by Dorah Hlongwani (Mapula Embroidery Project), Winterveldt Photographer: Neil Human
Hlongwani used the shell of a black monkey orange (Strychnos madagascariensis) as the carapace for the small tortoise she made. “She compared herself to the little tortoise,” Kruger remembers. “Dorah said: ‘I am like this tortoise: although life is difficult and although I don’t always know how to tackle challenges – like this project – one has to push forward.’” The enthusiasm displayed by Dorah Hlongwani and others soon became indicative of the Saadjies project and
As the official photographer for the Saadjies project, Carla Crafford travelled to Venice and Amsterdam with luggage filled with Saadjies, scouting ideal locations to shoot images of the sculptures. A new dimension in the work, a new collaboration between artwork and photographer, came into being. Rendered in photographs, Saadjies immediately embraced social media as the new wind of dissemination. Apart from formal photographs published in print media, #saadjies found a way to platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Images taken by commissioned photographers, artists, friends and the public brought the artworks into the public domain and created greater awareness amongst a public that might not necessarily be art-conscious. Soon afterwards, the
1 Saadjies photographed “on location” in Venice started to appear on Instagram and Facebook. Du Toit’s Psyche, a bronze of a seated hare, was photographed on the Ponte degli Scalzi, and Lwandiso Njara’s cast concrete Totem is seen in a niche as if cradled by a Virgin Mary, already dealing with one infant. In a close-up Du Toit’s hare, “a lively, witty, fast-talking, and likely-to-dothe-unexpected animal [that] has come to stand as surrogate for human existence and our relation to the natural and social world,” took on the proportions of a surrogate public sculpture, contemplating in its monumentality the hurly-burly of Venetian canal life. On a more intimate level Njara’s Totem, photographed with a Madonna and Child relief outside one of the churches on the Venice Lido, speaks of his boyhood years in rural Transkei and his schooling by Roman Catholic nuns. “At the same time I lived in a cultural world of ancestral ritual slaughter where blood is spilt in honour of my ancestors,” he says of two worlds, “both necessary for survival in society.” With all the churches Venice has on offer Crafford opted for a niche outside a church, for two reasons: “The better light outside and I wanted to draw a wider audience outside the church.”
Photographer: Neil Human
“When a photographer’s lens targets your work you are captured with the work, and you join as a part of a parallel, peripheral project, an overlap, a collective, a collaboration,” says Guy du Toit of the photographic aspect of the project. “Your work (as does the photographer’s) exists in two spaces, now with two authors sharing, commenting and collaborating. Any photographic rendering of an artwork becomes another artwork in its own right.” Moreover, the photographed artwork establishes a connection of its own with the viewer, within a specific context and with a sense of immediacy, since the photographer rearranges, recontextualises and envisions the work before commandeering it. “It’s like sharing and showing and showing and sharing,” says Du Toit, “always learning about looking and seeing.”
Photographer: Abre Crafford
contributed to its open-ended nature – to the notion of a project constantly in a state of flux. The willingness of more and more artists to participate leads to new artworks entering the project, resulting in different (curated) manifestations at different venues where Saadjies are being exhibited. Mathews’ idea of an uncurated, participatory and travelling project, taking art outside the elitist white cube of the art gallery, finds reflection in the myriad of photographs taken since the inception of the project.
1 & 2. As the official photographer for the Saadjies project, Carla Crafford travelled to Venice and Amsterdam with luggage filled with Saadjies, scouting ideal locations to shoot images of the sculptures. A new dimension in the work, a new collaboration between artwork and photographer, came into being.
Photographing artworks outdoors proved to draw onlookers – people would stop and take pictures of the photo shoot, creating “events” around the artworks. “ People thinking ‘if someone thought of taking pictures of an artwork, it must be important,’ that kind of approach,” says Crafford. “That we encountered often.” This spontaneous connection with the
sculptures that resulted in onlookers taking photos supports Instagram’s claim of “a new way to see the world”. Instagram is an application designed exclusively for smartphones (and more recently, tablets) that enables mobile photo capture, editing and sharing. It was launched in 2010, bought by Facebook in 2012, and currently claims on its website more than 500 million active users who upload, on average, 95 million photographs a day.
well as material obtained from various sources at different stages of the project. According to Mathews the film, Saadjies, “will serve as an overview of the project and simultaneously extend the reach of Saadjies to people who have not seen the physical artworks,” and will possibly open doors for the project in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands – “Flemish and Dutch speaking countries where the Afrikaans concept ‘saadjie’ would be easily grasped”.
Among other reasons it must be the beguiling format (180 x 180 x 180 mm), the photogenic quality of the artworks, and the sensitive placement within a specific context (architecturally as well as socially) – or a combination of these factors – that contribute to ‘grammable art’.
In retrospect the Saadjies project offered viewers different ways of looking at art, and in a range of incarnations: from the collected and curated to the dispersed; from the filmed and photographed to the shared on social media; from static work shown in a traditional gallery space to work traversing the world as a form of public art. Moreover, viewers from different backgrounds responded favourably to the project: from occasional interest to organised visits to Saadjie exhibitions; and from support by the Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy, to a Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) grant, and galleries accommodating exhibition runs on short notice.
As executive producers, Mathews and Associates have commissioned writer, director and filmmaker Neil Human to make a comprehensive documentary of the Saadjies project. The film, scheduled for release at the end of 2017, will include some of the extensive footage Human has shot as official videographer for the project since its inception, as
At the time of going to press, a Saadjies exhibition was underway at the Stellenbosch University (SU) Botanical Gardens’ greenhouses – yet another opportunity for amateur as well as professional photographers to engage with these small-scale artworks. To follow on these exhibitions Mathews is currently negotiating with galleries and arts foundations abroad to have Saadjies shown to an even wider audience. “Although the Saadjies project is intended for the artworks to disperse and spread like seeds,” says Mathews, “I have the dream that an edition of Saadjies should return to Pretoria to find a home in the new Javett: UP Arts Centre on the campus of the University of Pretoria (UP), a building designed by Mathews and Associates Architects. This “home” would be something of a temporary home, more library than final resting place – since Saadjies are designed to roam the world, to inspire, to enrich and to sprout new shoots of creativity. •
*Johan Myburg is an arts writer living in Johannesburg.
Artwork by Lwandiso Njaro
A WORD FROM OUR MAYOR The Tswane Executive Mayor, Cllr. Solly Msimanga, attended the launch of one of the PPC Cement benches in Muckleneuk, Pretoria. This is what he had to say on the day. “We can sit and complain about crime and about our public spaces and-and -and ... but until we do something ourselves, until we get up and say: “You know what, I am not going to complain, I am going to lend a hand in making it right” we are not going to get it right. We need to change our attitudes towards our [public] spaces and how we care for our own surroundings and our own property because we have to bequeath this to our children at some stage and the question is: What kind of city will we bequeath?
time, so that they can own the process and that they can own the results, and that it can be something that they can be proud of, as you guys are proud of what is being established here.
I am encouraged to see people who want to do something to make our city more livable, more beautiful and more investorfriendly. I am encouraged by people who are saying “Instead of complaining I am going to put my hand in and we are going to do something.”
I know that we can have a world-class city. If we really put our minds and our shoulders to the wheel we will be able to achieve what others are still dreaming of achieving.
I am hoping that we can have more of these installations in other areas as well – we started a cleanup in Marabastad a while ago. It didn’t go exactly as planned and we still need to do a bit of education – we need to get citizens behind us all the Executive Mayor Cllr. Solly Msimanga at the launch of Isa Steynberg’s “Hand” bench as part of the #sitcool project by Cool Capital and PPC Cement on 13 January 2017.
Thank you very much for the initiative, I am hoping that we can partner with you, not only with one project but with the many projects that are happening around the city, so that we can build a city that is resilient, a city that is beautiful and a city that is world-class.
Thank you so much for the invitation and for the sculpture. This is going to go down as a big part of Pretoria’s history and that history must be documented and told as well.”
SEE YOU IN 2018 98
The magazine is a collective documentation of all the art and design interventions implemented and executed by citizens of Tshwane in South...
Published on Jun 19, 2017
The magazine is a collective documentation of all the art and design interventions implemented and executed by citizens of Tshwane in South...