PICTURE IMPERFECT CITY - Cape Town Partnership

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PICTURE IMPERFECT CITY - Cape Town Partnership
FREE
DECEMBER 2014
A PROJECT
OF THE
CAPE TOWN
PARTNERSHIP
Molo | Hello | Goeiedag
SNAP CHAT
You showed us your most
cherished photos.
PAGE 12
A PORTRAIT OF
A CITY
Cape Town’s past in pictures.
PAGES 6 & 7
SCREEN ICON
The story of the Labia
Theatre.
PAGES 4 & 5
PICTURE
IMPERFECT CITY
How do we see the city?
PUBLIC ART
We map some of the city’s
best graffiti.
PAGE 9
PAGES 6 & 7
www.capetownpartnership.co.za
2
MOLO DECEMBER 2014
EDITORIAL
Molo.
Hello.
Goeiedag.
We are a
multipliCITY
Molo is a free community paper,
focused on the people of
Cape Town, and published by
the Cape Town Partnership.
Cape Town Partnership CEO Bulelwa MakalimaNgewana on why pictures of Cape Town need to
tell a lot more than a thousand words.
Created by: Ambre Nicolson, Brandon
Roberts, Dave Buchanan, Dylan Culhane,
Lisa Burnell, Ru du Toit, Skye Grove, Sam
Bainbridge, Stephen Alfreds
Designed by: Infestation
T: 021 461 8601
www.infestation.co.za
Published by:
Cape Town Partnership
34 Bree Street
T: 021 419 1881
SEND US YOUR STORIES
If you or someone you know has an
interesting story to tell, mail us at
[email protected]
(no press releases, please).
WHERE TO FIND MOLO
If you or your organisation would
like to receive or distribute the print
publication, please mail us at
[email protected],
including your postal address and the
number of copies you’d like to receive.
Every month, we’ll be continuing the
conversations we start in the print
edition of Molo online at
www.capetownpartnership.co.za.
Contact the creators of Molo:
@CTPartnership #Molo
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 021 419 1881
www.facebook.com/molocapetown
Molo, Cape Town Partnership, 10th Floor,
The Terraces, 34 Bree Street, 8001
W
hat is the most recognisable image of
Cape Town? I’ll bet
it’s the one that appears on all those postcards: the one
with the silhouette of the mountain
as a backdrop to blue sea and white,
sandy beaches. I don’t think you
can blame visitors for wanting to
celebrate the beauty of Cape Town’s
natural setting, but this stereotypical
image really doesn’t do justice to the
vibrant, turbulent place I call home.
It doesn’t show Cape Town’s urban
heart, or its informal settlements or
the variety of its street life. In fact, it
hardly ever shows any people at all.
It doesn’t say much about our city’s
complicated history or rich and multicultural heritage, and it certainly
shows nothing of the huge inequalities – social, economic and spatial
– that are the everyday reality of its
citizens. It tells only one story.
And, as Nigerian author Chimamande Ngozie Adichie explained in
what is now a famous TEDx talk,
there is a great danger in the single
story. In her words: “The single story
creates stereotypes, and the problem
with stereotypes is not that they are
untrue, but that they are incomplete
… The consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity. It
makes our recognition of our equal
humanity difficult. It emphasises
how we are different, rather than
how we are similar.”
The problem with having any one
single image of Cape Town is that
it risks oversimplifying our view of
our own city. Cape Town is not a
picture-perfect city. It is a city facing
enormous problems. But it is also a
city of opportunity and creativity,
home to people of remarkable resilience, hope and imagination.
As one of the judges of the recent competition, sponsored by
the Western Cape Government,
that chose Jacques Coetzer’s piece
“Open House Cape Town” as
the artwork which is to grace the
corner of Dorp and Long Streets,
I was pleased to see the panel’s
commitment to choosing a multifunctional work that can be used
to activate this public space in a
ON THE COVER
shorts
SCREEN SHOTS
“Cape Town is a city of many
faces – from sophisticated architecture, design and technology,
to handmade arts and crafts on
the street. Both extremes are
part of the Cape Town experience. I started with photographs
I took of the CBD and then cut
these up and reassembled them
to create a new reality - one that
is familiar but fragmented. Then I
cut up smaller pieces of colourful
paper and cardboard and added
them into the composition.
These represent the informal
economy in the city, which tends
to be very colourful and vibrant.
Together I think the combination
creates a beautiful harmony. I
like to think that the same is true
in reality.”
Dylan Culhane,
illustrator and designer
The Criterion bioscope was opposite
Jubilee Square and next door to the
Rendezvous Café, along Simon’s Town
Main Road. It was here that I learnt two early
lessons. The first was a lesson in the popular
deconstruction of the imperial (in this case
Greco-Hollywood) epic. The second was
a related lesson about the possibilities of
upending apartheid hierarchies ... the Criterion’s
regular matinee patrons (some of us very
regular, watching the same film many times
over) were segregated into a “European”
and a “non- European” section. The upstairs
balcony belonged to the ‘nons’. It was from
there that a continuous, subversive, choral
commentary emanated. It was an exhilarating,
part-stereophonic, part-bipolar, disorderly
experience. It was hard to tell what was more
entertaining, the action on the silver screen, or
the flow of interjections from up behind.
Both tugged at the heart and imagination.
Jeremy Cronin, from his essay “Creole Cape Town”,
in the book A City Imagined
number of ways.
Such an example points to the
value of art in guarding against
simplification. Film, photography,
painting, or (particularly contentiously, of late) public art are useful
for the ways they challenge how we
see the city.
In recognising Cape Town as being a “picture-imperfect” city, with
all the complicated, beautiful,
frustrating and astonishing things
that entails, we are also refusing
to give in to stereotypes about our
fellow citizens and the danger of
the single story.
After all, looking and seeing are
not always the same thing.
Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana
Jacques Coetzer’s winning
design: Open House Cape Town
SEND US YOUR PICTURES
Do you have an image of Cape Town worth sharing? Send your
photos, postcards, drawings and cartoons to [email protected]
partnership.co.za, and we will publish the best of them online at
www.capetownpartnership.co.za or in the next edition of Molo.
Annual Film
Festivals in
Cape Town
01 Cape Town International
Film Festival
02 Wavescape
03 Shnit short film festival
04 The 48 Hour Film project
05
Encounters Documentary
Film Festival
FILMS SHOT IN
CAPE TOWN
Safe House (2012), starring
Denzel Washington
Dark Tide (2012), starring
Halle Berry
Invictus (2009), starring
Matt Damon and Morgan
Freeman
06 Short and Sweet
07 Horrorfest
08
Cape Winelands Film
Festival
09 Out in Africa Film Festival
Non-profit
organisations
supporting
young artists
in Cape Town:
 Children’s Art Centre
www.childrensartcentre.co.za
 Frank Joubert Art Centre
www.frankjoubertartcentre.
co.za
 Big Fish Film School
www.bigfish.org.za
 Youngblood
www.youngblood-africa.com
FAST FACTS
R5-bn
The amount the film
industry contributed to the
local economy in 2012
12 000
The number of full-time jobs
that the industry supports
1906
The year that the first local
sports coverage appeared
on screen in Cape Town, at
the Tivoli Music Hall. The
footage was of a cricket
match between England
and South Africa held at
Newlands sports grounds.
IN SHORT
3
COLUMN
Chad Rossouw
Between the Table and
the deep blue sea
M
y great-grandfather,
Edward Cole, was a
commercial painter:
Coca-Cola Santas,
logos, Weet-Bix tins, postcards.
About 15 years ago, Iziko put on
an exhibition charting the history
of images of Table Mountain.
My mother went to the show,
and recognized an enlarged,
unattributed reproduction of
a postcard as Edward Cole’s.
It was a painting of a young
girl gathering lilies, with the
mountain in the background.
My mom started a correspondence with the curator, who said
that she hadn’t been the first
person making inquiries, and
put my mom in touch with an
old woman. This old lady was
Edward Cole’s old assistant,
and very probably his lover. She
had what could only be called
a shrine to Edward Cole in her
flat, full of paintings and photographs. What struck me about
this story – besides the intrigue
of family mysteries – was that
together the two of them figured
out from the angle of the mountain that Cole’s postcard could
only have been painted from
Robben Island.
This changes a simple image
of a romantic holiday town
into something else. At the
time the image was painted,
Robben Island wasn’t a political
prison; and yet there were still
400 years of history, as a penal
colony and lazaretto, that were
whitewashed by a girl picking
lilies and a mountain.
The mountain has such a
gravitational pull on the city’s
identity, such a strong brand,
that sometimes in order to see
the city, one has to get on top of it.
Maupassant, the French writer,
often ate at the restaurant in the
Eiffel Tower, even though he
thought the food was mediocre.
It’s the only place in Paris,
he used to say, where I don’t
have to see it. Like the Eiffel
Tower, the mountain is a builtin logo, gracing every horizon,
and a magnet for a million
photographers. Like a brand,
which hides its bad labour
practices behind a façade of
shiny product, Table Mountain
hides the city’s history by its
implacable presence. From up
top, however, one can see the
CBD, twinkling prettily, but
also the swathe of empty land
that was District 6. One can see
the splash of suburbs both north
Like a brand,
which hides its bad
labour practices
behind a façade of
shiny product, Table
Mountain hides
the city’s history
by its implacable
presence.
and south, but also the hard,
separating lines of the Flats and
the townships. From above, we
can see a city struggling with its
legacy.
But mostly, we stay at sea level;
and as artists making images of
this city, we have to deal with the
mountain’s looming presence.
In a recent work, “Richwood
Avenue”, I shot a panoramic
view from Richwood, looking
over an abandoned field to
the Caltex refinery. Crashed
into this field was a CGI
rocket ship. At the time, I was
interested in reimagining spaces
I had grown up in, using sci-fi
elements in these quotidian,
1
AL FRESCO
FILMS
Watch a flick outside this
summer, at any one of the
four venues of the Galileo
Open Air Cinema. Venues
include Kirstenbosch, V&A
Waterfront, Hillcrest Quarry
and Somerset West. View the
schedule at www.galileo.co.za
suburban settings. Far in the
background of the image stands
Table Mountain. It was an
aspirational symbol for me when
I was growing up, for something
more urban and glamorous. In
the photograph, the mountain
counteracted the total lack of
promise of a crashed spaceship.
I’m reminded of a work, “Flats
II” (2010) by the emerging
photographer Ashley Walters,
from his Uitsig series. Uitsig
is a complex series of photos,
examining the spatial and social dynamics of the Coloured
townships of Cape Town.
“Flats II” is an image of a block
of flats, bleak and grey, behind
a derelict field. In the background, framed by wispy sunset
clouds, stands Table Mountain.
However, this view of the
mountain is radically different
from mine. The shift in view
from the West Coast suburbs
to the Cape Flats is a shift in
meaning.
My great-grandfather’s view of
Table Mountain from Robben
Island is the view of an arriving
ship, of a colonial, for whom the
mountain’s embrace was a safe
harbour, a new start, and land to
be taken. This is the classic view
of the mountain, offering promise, and the view that is still sold
to tourists and property developers. My own image of the
mountain retains this colonial
origin; but, I like to think, offers
something more self-reflective,
something of a hint of a failed
and doomed project.
In Walters’ photograph, however, the mountain is a divisive
boulder. It is the view of forced
removals and relocation. It may
still be beautiful, clothed in
tasteful pink clouds; but its presence is ominous.
Chad Rossouw is an artist,
writer and educator based in
Cape Town. Most of his work is
viewable at chadrossouw.com
2
33
1. Galileo, V&A Waterfront
4
2. Short & Sweet host pop-up cinema at various
locations in Cape Town – such as in Camps Bay
3. Encounters at the Labia Theatre
4. Wavescape Film Festival on Clifton 4th
The film industry is a major contributor to jobs and revenue
in the city. But that is not the only reason that it is important. The
film industry is essential as a way to showcase our talent, both
locally and globally.
Denis Lillie, CEO of the Cape Film Commission
4
MOLO DECEMBER 2014
The
Story
of the
Labia
Theatre
For the last 25 years the Labia Theatre has
been bringing the best of independent
cinema to Cape Town. We spoke to owner
Ludi Kraus to find out how the Labia came to
be a local institution.
Text by Ambre Nicolson, images by Lisa Burnell
Setting the scene:
Windhoek, in the
1960s
Growing up in Windhoek, in
what was then the occupied territory of South West Africa, Ludi
Kraus learned a lot about film.
“As a child, I remember, one day
– out of the blue – my dad decided
to open a cinema,” Ludi recalls.
“He didn’t know anything about
the business; or about film, for
that matter, besides taking me to
see things like Tom Thumb on a
Saturday. But he hired our nextdoor neighbour as the architect,
and he had a friend who was a
builder, and had built a hotel; and
he said, ‘Well, if he can build a hotel, he can build a cinema, right?’
“Next he ordered five hundred
blue seats from Europe, which
took months to arrive; and finally,
one Sunday, he visited a restaurant with my mother, and saw
a very tall, good-looking head
waiter from the Netherlands –
and hired him on the spot, as the
cinema manager.” According to
Ludi, it was at this point that his
father realised he needed to find
something to put on the screen.
“We learned the hard way, but we
learned; and I got involved at an
early age, during school holidays,
helping to manage the place.”
Even at such a young age, Ludi
showed an interest in cinema as an
art form. “I remember suggesting
to my dad that we show some
foreign-language films, to which
he replied: ‘Okay, but we need
to have at least one really bad
film a month too!’ In the end we
were showing at least four really
fine films a month; and I like to
think we ended up educating our
audience, and raising the bar in
terms of what was available to be
seen in a cinema in Windhoek at
that time.”
Cut to Cape Town
in 1979
After his stint of compulsory military service, Ludi became a law
student at UCT. “At the time we
used to have amazing screenings
of films on campus. I remember
watching Charlie Chaplin films in
the art department. But I also used
to sneak away from class and go to
the local cinema, for what at the
time was called the “housewives’
show”, because it was screened at
about 11am on a weekday. Those
films were anything but boring,
though – because that’s when they
I was showing
stuff … that you
literally couldn’t see
anywhere else.
FEATURE
used to show all the unusual foreign-language films that I loved.”
In 1979, after completing his
articles in Windhoek, Ludi
moved to Cape Town permanently, to practise law. But even
back then, it wasn’t long before
he was importing films that were
otherwise unavailable to show to
local audiences.
“I really missed all of the film
stuff when I came to live here
permanently. At the time, Cape
Town had a great film festival – I
remember seeing about 30 films
in those ten days each year – but
it wasn’t enough; and so I started
to bring in films from overseas
to show here. Really good films.
You have to remember, there
was no Cinema Nouveau at that
time, so I was showing stuff like
Pixote and Woman in Flames,
that you literally couldn’t see
anywhere else.”
Ludi would hire out venues such
as the Baxter or Artscape theatres
for week-long showings, mostly
of art-house films. “I was like a
travelling roadshow for amazing
films. At the time you couldn’t see
this stuff anywhere, so we used to
easily fill the 650-seat Baxter for
ten showings of a single film.”
The first film Ludi showed was
The Grass is Singing, a Swedish
adaption of a Doris Lessing novel
in which a bored (white) farmer’s
wife enters into a relationship
with a (black) farm labourer
– with some pretty dire consequences. As Ludi wryly puts it: “I
called it ‘black on white, in colour’! It was a very relevant film in
the days of apartheid, although
I’m not sure the censors saw it
that way.”
Scouting a
location
“So I had the films,” Ludi continues, “but I didn’t have a home for
them.” That was until he found
out, in 1988, that the Labia Theatre was for sale. The building had
been constructed in the 1930s as
the ballroom for the neighbouring Italian Embassy, and named
for a prominent Italian family.
Later, in 1949, it opened as a
centre for the performing arts.
It took two years of negotiation,
but finally – in 1989 – the Labia
Theatre belonged to Ludi. He
converted the theatre to a cinema, but left much of the wood
panelling (and the original box
office) untouched. “I went from
being an attorney to a theatre
owner, and that’s what my wife,
Ann, and I have been doing ever
since,” he says.
Deleted scenes
As the owner of the Labia, Ludi
would travel to the Cannes Film
Festival every year to look for
films to bring back to South Africa. “I was very serious about
it. I would sometimes see 60
films in a week; people used to
tease me that I was the person
who switched the lights on in
the morning, and then switched
them off again at night. I also
had to watch a lot of the films
twice: once to see the film, and
once to see how I would get it
past the censors back home.”
In those days Ludi would often struggle to get films passed
by the South African censorship
board. “I would have huge fights
with the censors, but I managed
to gain their trust eventually. In
the case of the Labia, we got an
exemption on the grounds that
it was a small, discerning audience, and we didn’t have children viewing the films. I told the
censors, ‘It’s not like my audience is going to be shocked to
see a naked lady!’”
He remembers trying all sorts
of tricks to get films passed that
might otherwise have been
banned or cut. “If there was a particularly risqué scene that con-
I would
sometimes see 60
films in a week;
people used to tease
me that I was the
person who switched
the lights on in the
morning and then
switched them off
again at night.
tained sex or violence, I always
made sure that when the censors
viewed the film, it was at exactly
that moment that I’d send someone in with tea and sandwiches
– under strict instructions to be
very slow, make lots of noise, and
repeatedly ask how much sugar
and milk everyone wanted.”
Ludi remembers that in many
cases the censors themselves –
often liberal individuals – were
nonetheless shackled by the very
strict laws of the day. “It did get
very silly,” he remembers. “I remember once, I wanted to bring in
a very light German comedy; but
unfortunately, the opening credits were played over a scene of a
woman in the bath. I remember
being worried that we would have
to cut it, and then nobody would
know the name of the film.”
5
BOX OFFICE
STARs
Roll credits
Over the years, the Labia Theatre has developed a small but devoted fan base who attend the
cinema religiously – both for the
old-world cinema experience, and
because they trust Ludi as a curator of worthwhile films. Still, it
hasn’t been easy. Echoing the experiences of independent cinema
owners around the world, Ludi
explains: “Keeping the Labia afloat
has been a struggle, especially after
Cinema Nouveau opened in the
1990s. They were stiff competition.
Nowadays, of course, all the technology has changed too. This has
been both a blessing and a curse.
It’s opened up the availability of
film from all regions; but the need
to go digital has been a huge financial burden.”
Earlier this year, the Labia converted three of its four screens
from
traditional
projection
screens to digital, at a cost of over
R2-million. Shortly thereafter,
friends and supporters started a
crowdsourced funding campaign
through local funding platform
Thundafund. The ‘Digital Gold’
campaign, as it was named, was
almost instantly successful, raising R60 000 in its first day and half
a million rand in total. Says Ludi,
“The campaign was not only a financial success but it also showed
people’s loyalty to the Labia. Now
that we have converted to digital
it has opened up a whole new
world. Ever since then it’s been
raining movies around here. The
success of the Labia has also really been a group effort by the dedicated staff we have here. Some of
them have been working at the
Labia for more than 30 years.”
Asked if he would do anything
differently, given the chance, Ludi
replies: “My one regret is that in
the more than 45 years that I’ve
been doing this, I haven’t been
able to get the public really interested in experimental films. I still
don’t think our local audiences
really like to seek out the new and
the different.”
Prove Ludi wrong by visiting the
Labia Theatre on Orange Street,
or find out what’s showing on
any of the Labia’s four screens at
www.thelabia.co.za.
When Ludi bought the Labia in 1989 he kept many of the original features,
including the original wood panelling in the interior and the box office. A sign
commemorates the original opening of the Labia in 1949 by Princess Labia.
Riedwaan Fridie
former projectionist
“I have worked for the
Labia for more than 30
years. My love of movies
started as a child at the
old Avalon Cinema in
District Six, even though
I didn’t get to really watch
films. My schoolfriend’s
father was the manager at
the Avalon. One day we
went past the cinema and
I asked if we could see the
projection room. I was
fascinated to see how they
loaded the film and the
noise it made as it whirred
past. That’s when I fell in
love with everything about
movies. I kept coming
back, and eventually, after
my friend’s father gave his
blessing, I started to learn
from the projectionist how to load the film on
the reels and splice pieces
of film together. I have
listened to the sounds of
film ever since.”
Clair Idesis
“I have worked
at the Labia for
21 years, Sunday
to Sunday. I love
my boss to bits,
that’s why I have
stayed so long.
The audience
has changed
tremendously
over the years.
There are a lot
of different ages
now, with a lot of
young people.”
6
MOLO DECEMBER 2014
1500s and before
1600s
Chart of Table Bay drawn by Johannes Vingboons circa 1665
San rock painting near Eland’s Bay
Southern Africa’s earliest inhabitants are the nomadic
San people who later mix with the Khoikhoi to form the
Khoisan. The pastoral Khoisan are largely driven from
their land by successive waves of immigration, first from
the Bantu-speaking immigrants arriving from the north
and later by European settlers in the 17th century. Their
story remains in the art they left behind on the rock walls
of caves all over Southern Africa.
1700s
Cape Town is “discovered” by Europeans several times,
from Portuguese sailors seeking fresh water in 1510 to the
commanders of two English fleets who claim Table Bay
(and, in their words, the “adjoining continent”) for the
English in 1620. Their claim is never pursued; and in 1652 an
officer of the Dutch VOC, Jan van Riebeek, arrives to build
a refreshment station for passing ships. For the next 20
years the so-called refreshment station requires imports of
food from Europe to survive.
Khoi women dancing, drawing circa 1713
In 1713 a smallpox plague decimates the population of
the Cape. It kills 20% of white settlers but almost 100% of
the local Khoikhoi. Throughout the latter half of the 17th
century and the early 1700s the slave trade at the Cape
has been increasing. In 1754 the settler population of 5 500
people is outnumbered by a slave population of almost
7000 people taken from South East Asia, Madagascar,
Mozambique and West Africa.
CAPE T
Adderley Street
through the decades
1800s
A view towards the sea from
Adderley Street in 1873
c1925 Trams outside Cape Town Station
IN PICT
How has Cape Town been depicted vis
showing how the inhabitants of our ci
photographed Cape Town o
Compiled by Skye G
City snapshots
FROM THE SURREAL T
1950s
LEFT: A postc
1905 showing
tramway goin
Bay towards K
The annual Christmas lights display
RIGHT: The Pu
Rain protest o
in Cape Town
September 19
police turned
cannon conta
purple dye on
protesters. Th
to mark prote
later identifica
arrest.
BOTTOM: The
World Cup saw
Capetonians o
race and class
together to ce
the festivities
Grand Parade
UNKNOWN CC BY-SA 3.0
1976
2014
Tear gas during a protest
supplied
Adderley Street today
supplied
FEATURE
1800s
1900s
2000s
Oil painting by Thomas Whitcombe, 1818
Cape Town in the 1800s is a colonial city. In 1795 the
English invade the Cape but relinquish control back to the
Dutch in 1804, only to re-invade in 1806. The Cape would
be an English colony until 1910. In 1875 the population of
Cape Town is 35 000 people; by 1904 this number has
risen to 170 000 people.
TOWN
TURES
7
The old pier, 1911
In 1900 Cape Town was a city of unpaved roads and horsedrawn transport without electricity or plumbed water. By
1945 the development of the port had already brought
industry, new kinds of immigrants and interesting forms of
culture from across the seas (although we lost Woodstock
beach in the process). During this century the city would be
the site of some triumphs (such as the first heart transplant)
but many more tragedies brought about by apartheid (the
untold suffering of the forced removals in District Six).
2014 cityscape Instagram by Skye Grove
According to the 2011 national census, Cape
Town is home to 3.7 million people, 42% of whom
are coloured and 39% of whom are black. Of all
households that fall within the city limits, 42%
earned less than R3 200 per month in 2011.
Cape Town landmarks
then and now
The Foreshore
sually over time? We found 20 images
ity have drawn, painted, mapped and
over the last five centuries.
1967
2007
Grove & Lisa Burnell
snapshots
TO THE CELEBRATORY
card from
g the
ng up Camps
Kloof Nek.
SIMISA CC BY-SA 3.0
Greenmarket Square
1963
urple
occurred
on 2
989 when
a water
aining
n a crowd of
he idea was
esters for
ation and
2014
supplied
e 2010
aw
of every
s gather
elebrate
on the
e.
District Six
2014
1970s
supplied
ZACKYSANT CC BY-SA 3.0
WE NEED YOUR HELP
We know these 20 images don’t even begin to tell the story of our complicated, multifaceted,
multicultural city. Help us to show a wider perspective on Cape Town by sending your images of
Cape Town (along with a description) to [email protected] We’ll publish the best
of them online at www.capetownpartnership.co.za or in the next edition of Molo.
supplied by Cape Town Tourism
While we have made every effort to attribute all images correctly, please let us know if you spot any omissions.
8
MOLO DECEMBER 2014
MY STORY
Making art in
Cape TowN
was painting and told me that I
was doing a terrible job. He took
my brush out my hand and started
painting himself. From then on I
did drama. Later I also studied
spatial design through the Frank
Joubert Art Centre, which is an
incredible institution that provides art teaching and resources
to kids who don’t have art at
school – of which there are too
many in Cape Town.
After school I worked for an
NGO here in Cape Town. I
worked with rural people struggling for land redistribution, and
that gave me a whole new way of
seeing the city because it showed
the difference between being urban and rural, and how the past
has continued into the present.
At the time I was painting a lot of
graffiti and it was on the basis of
this that I applied to art school.
I still have that portfolio – and
wow, are those pictures bad!
As a student, I worked with the
Human Rights Media Centre; and
I played a part in organising and
photographing an exhibition of
stories from marginalised youth,
called The Edge of the Table. The
double meaning of this – of something being close to falling and
also something on the periphery
of Table Mountain – really struck
a chord with me. We live in a city
in which apartheid architecture
has ensured that the past perpetu-
Haroon Gunn-Salie, on how Cape
Town made him an artist, and how he
makes art in Cape Town.
As told to Ambre Nicolson
Images by Ashley Walters and supplied
That’s why I
make art; I think it
can be used to tell
grassroots stories,
and I think what is
lacking in our city
and our country is
shared community
narrative. I think
the story of nationbuilding as a grand
narrative often
drowns out the small
but important stories
we should be telling
each other.
“I
had a very unique childhood. Both of my parents
were Umkhonto we Sizwe
commanders in the Western Cape. I was born while my
parents were living underground
and my mother had just been
framed for a bombing that she
hadn’t done. She did do quite a lot
of other bombings, but not that
one. There was a lengthy hunt for
her and eventually they captured
her and sent her to prison, along
with me; that’s where I spent the
first eight months of my life. A story that my mom told to me when
I was older was how I would take
my crayons and stuff them into
the lock of the prison door to try
to open it – quite sweet, but not
what you would consider a normal part of a child’s development.
I don’t really remember most
of this history, my memories are
made up of the stories I was told –
I don’t have memories of the lived
experience myself. This is something that came back to me when
I was an art student at Michaelis.
The exhibition I did at that time,
called Witness, came out of those
early experiences; because in
choosing to work with a group of
veterans from District Six, being
told their stories and in translating those stories into artwork,
I was also becoming a witness
to them. My desire was to make
artwork that could also function
as the translation of oral history
– not in a verbal or written sense,
but in a way that is sculptural.
When I was an older child we
also lived between the realities
of Cape Town in other ways.
Geographically we lived halfway between the mountain and
the informal settlements on the
Cape Flats, in a place called Belthorn Estate. I think to this day
my mother is the only white person who lives there. Seeing the
mountain from this point of view
also gave me a perspective on the
city itself.
I first studied art as a Grade
8 student. In the third term my
teacher came up to me while I
When it comes to the Elion piece
on the promenade, all I can say is
that I am one of the Art54 artists,
and I had no idea that that piece
was going up. Problematic, right?
Then there is the case of that toilet that Tokolos Stencils dropped
off at the Brundayn Gallery. My
question with that is, if it’s activism, surely it’s better not to be
anonymous? And why brand the
toilet with your statement – that
was not a toilet, it was an art toilet! Lastly, I think the Remember Marikana campaign is really
good and important work – but I
went to Marikana, and you know
what? There are no stencils there.
Surely the place they would most
need to be put up, on that highway down which the mining executives travel every day?
It is these kinds of questions
that led me to my recent campaign around street signs. After
we arranged a follow-up to the
Witness exhibition in the form
of transforming one of the new
homes in District Six phase two
development, I realised that
people are being moved back to
Zonnebloem – not to District Six.
When the area was first renamed
that, a word that means sunflower
in Dutch, it was meant to erase
any trace of how the people had
called the area home. So I took it
upon myself to change the road
signs back to say ‘District Six’. It’s
Haroon’s work, Sunday Best, 2012
ates itself. But through that exhibition I also saw the power of
art to be provocative, thoughtful,
transformative. And that’s why I
make art; I think it can be used
to tell grassroots stories, and I
think what is lacking in our city
and our country is shared community narrative. I think the story
of nation-building as a grand narrative often drowns out the small
but important stories we should
be telling each other.
I think it’s good that there is discussion happening around public
art in Cape Town at present, but
I disagree with some of the ways
that artists are going about it.
been a year, but they’re still there.
In the case of that work it was
more activism than art, I think.
The question, really, is: do I want,
one day, to have to show my child
this part of the city, and have to
explain why it hasn’t changed? I
wonder: is that what my parents
thought before they had me?”
FEATURE
9
2.Unknown
Street
art
Description: colourful,
abstract piece on face
brick
Location: Frere Street,
Woodstock
R
A
V&
E
AT
W
1. Creation Generation
Mural
Arm
By CORE Collective mural artists Rayaan
Cassiem, Anwar Davids, Leigh Cupido and
Amedeo Bisogno
South
T
N
Graffiti is an
ancient form of
By Freddy Sam
communication
Description: A large-scale
and a way
monochrome work marking
20 years of democracy.
for artists to
Location: Woodstock,
comment on the
opposite Baltic Timbers at
social injustices
111 Albert Road
that exist in
4. Two Great Minds
the city.
3. Freedom Day
Mural
What counts as street art? For some,
even the most elaborate mural
amounts to little more than vandalism.
For others, even the crudest tag is an
artform. Here’s where to find some of
the city’s best known pieces so you can
make up your own mind.
O
FR
by Billy aka Alex Godwin
1
Description: This mostly monochromatic
piece was created to “create awareness
and conversation”.
Location: Corner Sir Lowry Road and
Street, Woodstock
HARBOUR
N
Compiled by Brandon Roberts
Images by Lisa Burnell
1 Freddy Sam
By
N
Location: Albert Road,
Woodstock
5. Wall of Fame
Bloem
Buiten
Orphan
MANDELA BLVD
LSON
NE
CHRISTIAAN BARNARD
Martin
Jan Smuts
Fo
G un
ar d
de er
n s
DF Malan
Parliament
C
GO AST
OD LE
HO OF
PE
Barrack
14
CAN
TERB
URY
Albertus
Harrington
BUITENKANT
PLEIN
Caledon
DISTRICT SIX
ROELAND
ROEL
AND
8. No eating
HATFIELD
7. Raised by
wolves
By JAZ aka Franco Fasoli
By Nardstar
ANN
Description:
Painted
by
AND
ILL
ALE
M
Argentinean
artists
JAZ,
this mural shows a wild
cat devouring a man in
a forest.
Description: colourful
faceted depiction of a
wolf and human face.
KLOOF NEK
Location: On the
side of a house just
off Albert Road,
Woodstock GARDENS
11
L
AA
W
DE
D
AN
TL
JU
9
9. Heart
by Boa Mistura
VREDEHOEK
(a collective
of five
Spanish artists)
Description: A giant
patterned heart with a
diamond at its centre.
Location: Tribe Coffee
Roasting, Woodstock
Foundry, CT
Street art, by its
nature, is fluid, and in
Cape Town, it is also
frequently short-lived.
Nonetheless, this is a
tiny fraction of the art
that can be seen on
the streets of our city.
Other areas that boast
impressive pieces
include Mitchells Plain
(see Falko’s goldfish
mural in Westridge),
Langa (see the murals
by various artists that
formed part of the
2013 Langa Street
Art Festival outside
the stadium) and
Khayelitsha (see Chris
Auret’s murals of
children’s faces at the
PACC clinic).
D
E
PA WA
RK AL
Location: Sussex
and Wright Roads,
Woodstock
11. The Harvest
12. Madiba
mural
11
by Mak1one
Description: Blue and
ORANJEZICHT
By Faith47
Location: Queen Victoria
Street, opposite the
Company’s Garden
3
M
3
TAMBOERSKLOOF
Description: This
piece forms part of the
Freedom Charter series,
which includes works
around Cape Town and
Johannesburg.
T
U
CP
Commercial
KLOOF
10
BUT WAIT,
THERE’S
MORE …
TO MUIZENBERG
12
The Street is the
Gallery offers street
art tours in Woodstock
and Westridge in
Mitchells Plain, both
hubs of street art in
Cape Town. For more
information find The
Street is The Gallery
on Facebook or
Twitter
@AStreetGallery
N
TO AIRPORT
M
TO TABLE
M
& CAMPS OUNTAIN
BAY
10. All shall
be equal
before the law
2
Gallery
2
AD
RO
Caledon
BUITENSINGEL
by Mike Makatron
Description: This piece
is the work of Australian
artist Mike Makatron
Location: 34 Cornwall
Street, Woodstock
3
Ho
Bloem
5
WOODSTOCK
DARLING
Spin
10
RY
W
LO
AD
RO
pe
LONG
LOOP
BREE
New Church
Leeuwen
ADDERLEY
Church
R
SI
RY
W
LO
R
SI
10
6
7
ty
Ci all
H
Longmarket
Queen Victoria
Dorp
Keerom
WALE
T
KE
1
AR
M
W
E
N
RT
BE
AL
9
8
AND
STR
nd e
ra d
G ara
P
Church
Square
t
ke
ar
m re
enqua
e
r
G S
N
W
TO AY
PE ILW ION
A
T
A
C R A
ST
Parliament
SHORTMARKET
Burg
BUITENGRAGT
6
Riebeek
Castle
Hout
4
Old Marine
Thibault
Square
STRAND
Heritage
Square
Chiappini
BOKAAP
Rose
TO CAMPS BAY
om
St Georges Mall
Prestwich
c
vi re
Ci ent
C
Government Ave
TO
SE
AP
OIN
T
HEERENGRACHT
rijd
The Company’s Garden
St
Mechau
WATERKANT
6. Green
Elephant
ns
Lwr Burg
Ha
HERTZOG BOULEVARD
er
Pi lace
P
J et t y
th f
or r
N ha are
W qu
S
BLV
D
Burg
HE
LEN
SU
ZM
AN
LOWER LONG
WA
TE
RF
RO
NT WALTER SISULU AVE
LOOP
Location: near the train
line in Salt River
13
C
IC
CT
LONG
Description: This was a
popular canvas for some
of the most prolific artists
of the 80s and 90s. Today
you can see works by
the Burning Museum
collective too.
TO
V&
A
BREE
By various artists
THE Street Is The
Description: Two large-scale
painted heads, facing away from
one another.
L/
AR G
PA TEN
Lewin
O
U
T A
G
By Faith47
Description: An electronic lighting system, designed
by Lyall Sprong and Marc Nicolson at Thingking,
illuminates each time a donation is made to the
#ANOTHERLIGHTUP project, giving the work a new
dimension after sunset and helping to fund lighting in
publicspaces in Monwabisi Park.
Location: De Waal Drive
14. We all Share Roots
By Boa Mistura (a group of five Spanish artists)
14
black mural
Location: Canterbury
Street, Cape Town
13. In Memory
of Bonzaya
Description:
A depiction of
a tall tree with a
heart at the roots.
Location:
Commercial Street
By an unknown artist
Description: a turquoise,
orange and white mural
of local rapper Bonzaya
Street Tyrant, who died in
September 2011.
Location: Albert Road,
Woodstock
Do you have a favourite piece?
Take a photo and send it to us at
[email protected]
10
MOLO DECEMBER 2014
ORDINARY PEOPLE
Changing
the way we
see the city
How do we “see” the city through film,
photography and public art? We asked
a filmmaker, a photographer, an artist
and a writer about the role that Cape
Town plays in their own work and how
they would like to change the the way
Cape Town is portrayed through
Text by Ambre Nicolson
Images by Lisa Burnell and supplied
can have one story about Cape
Town, this place is a whole collection of short stories. There is
no such thing as ‘Cape Town:
the movie’.”
Nonetheless, Cape Town
features prominently as the
setting for Jenna’s first feature
film, titled Love the One you
Love. “It explores the idea that
love is this preordained, ‘meet
your soul mate’ kind of thing,”
Jenna explains, “In reality having no choice about who you
love would be horrific. I think
there are parallels to that in
how Cape Town and South
Africa are often portrayed in a
...if I’m lucky
it will take me a
lifetime just to
figure out what I
want to say about
this place.
02 NARDSTAR
THE STREET ARTIST:
Nardstar describes herself as a “graffiti artist, street
artist and mural artist who also does customising,
gallery art and vector art.” Her work appears on the
streets of Cape Town and Johannesburg and as far
afield as New York and Connecticut.
Why do you do your art?
It’s my life.
What do you think about
making street art in Cape
Town?
The city is a graffiti graveyard.
Years of graf have been buffed. It
makes me sad to drive around the
city and see no graf where there
used to be tons, it’s so aesthetically
boring and so restricted. There
are no legal walls and the writers
and street artists are limited
instead of celebrated, or at least
JENNA BASS
01
THE
FILMMAKER:
JENNA
BASS
Jenna Bass recently
completed her first
feature film, Love the
One You Love and is
currently working on a
feminist Western
and an acapella
hip hop mini-series set
in Lavender Hill. She is
also one of the founders
of the African pulp
magazine, Jungle Jim.
When I ask writer and filmmaker
Jenna Bass what role Cape Town
plays in her work, her eyes light
up. “Growing up I thought that
Cape Town was the southern
suburbs; and then later I discovered town and I thought, ‘oh, this
is Cape Town’ but of course over
time I realised how wrong I was
about that – I only knew a tiny
fraction of Cape Town. It was a
huge shift for me, and now I do
find myself getting angry with
simplistic misrepresentations of
Cape Town and South Africa in
film. I realised that if I’m lucky it
will take me a lifetime just to figure out what I want to say about
this place. It’s the only place in
the world I know, that I have
some sense of what goes on here
– and even then of course there is
so much I don’t know, but I don’t
think you could find a better city
to make films in. Every film that
I make here is an excuse to find
out more about this place. That’s
the joy of characters, is that
you can set them problems that
means they encounter the city in
different ways. I don’t think you
one-dimensional “rainbow nation” way that I don’t think is
true or helpful. In both cases
there is an idea of forced consensus. In my film two intersecting stories explore these
questions through different
kinds of relationships. One is
a couple who find themselves
conspired against to stay together, and another is about
an older guy who is still in love
with his ex-girlfriend and who
befriends her younger brother
to feel close to her.”
Last year Jenna made a music
video with the Hip Hop Collective known as Dood-venootSkap. “Together we came up
with the idea of a hip hop acapella musical written in Kaaps.
It has now evolved into a miniseries and hopefully we will be
shooting it next year.” She is also
working on a feminist Western,
set in the Karoo, called Flatlands. Says Jenna: “The idea of
a South African Western is not
a new one but I think this place
is really well suited to the genre
and I think that a South African
woman will make a great lead
in such a film – South African
women are so strong.”
Get started,
there are no rules
and no school that
can teach you how
to do this. Get a wall
and get painting.
Nardstar
considered as people instead of
as bylaw statistics that make the
city look good.
You work in lots of different
mediums, including
canvas, sneakers and
skateboards. What other
kinds of surfaces would
you like to experiment on?
I would like to experiment with
wood more.
What would you say to the
10-year-old girl who wants
to become a street artist?
Get started, there are no rules
and no school that can teach you
how to do this. Get a wall and
get painting.
FEATURE
11
03 ALEXIAWEBSTER
THE PHOTOGRAPHER:
Alexia Webster was working at a local
production company that made music videos
when she started taking photos of her friends.
“One day I got a very unexpected call from a
journalist friend of mine,” Alexia explains. “He
invited me to join him as the photographer on
a story he was doing in Ethiopia for a big British
newspaper.” Although she had no experience as
a working photographer, she packed her bags
and camera and headed off on her first-ever
assignment.
Alexia’s Street Studio in Du Noon in 2012
“The newspaper really liked the
work we produced and so my
career as a photographer began.”
In 2011 she started the Street
Studios project, setting up street
studios to provide free photos,
printed on site, to anyone who
wanted one. So far Alexia has
held street studios in locations
around South Africa – including
central Cape Town, Blikkiesdorp,
Woodstock and Du Noon – and
as far afield as the Bulengo
displacement camp in the DRC.
“The responses have been quite
different in different spaces so far
because a family photograph has
a very different value depending
on your access to resources,” she
says. “At Bulengo, for example,
hundreds people lined up over
the course of six days to have
their photo taken. With life being
so precarious in the camp the
photograph became a potential
piece of family history. In
Hillbrow on the other hand, the
studio was a much more playful
and lighthearted space.”
Alexia grew up in Johannesburg,
the daughter of writer and historian Luli Callinicos. “Her books
were full of photographs of migrant workers coming to the city
I feel Cape Town
is quite conservative
and controlled in
terms of public
space and art. There
is very little room
for spontaneous or
unapproved art that
isn’t sanctioned by
the city or corporate
sponsors.
Alexia Webster
to work in the mines, of crowded
compounds, of domestic workers in the city, and Randlords
and their opulent homes in the
suburbs. I remember myself as a
little girl spending hours looking
through her collection of photos,
imagining that world and piecing
together the story of my city and
my country.”
Today Alexia has traveled to
cities across the globe. How
does Cape Town compare in
terms of public art? In Alexia’s
words: “I feel Cape Town is quite
conservative and controlled
in terms of public space and
You grew up in Joburg, how
did you get to understand
the arts scene in Cape Town
when you moved here?
I moved to Cape Town from Jozi
in 2008 to work as an arts journalist for The Tonight section of the
Cape Argus. I didn’t know anyone here. My beat was covering
music, but I used it as a platform
to explore every avenue of the arts
scene in Cape Town. That was my
key to the city.
What stories do you think
are missing from Cape
Town’s public art?
04 ATIYYAH KAHN
THE WRITER:
When people were forcefully removed from their homes all over
Cape Town, their stories went
with them. The art world here
represents a specific elite voice
that is not true for all who live
in Cape Town. This new SunStar
at Signal Hill and the sunglasses
in Sea Point are great examples.
Also, why are there so many legal
street-artworks from international artists in Woodstock but so few
local artists?
Why does street art matter?
Atiyyah Kahn grew up in Johannesburg and studied
Street art provides a voice to the
political science at Wits before studying journalism in
voiceless. It is important because
Grahamstown and Los Angeles. She now calls Cape
the free nature of it means it does
Town home. She is an arts journalist, one of the founders not discriminate, and the temporary nature of it means that it
of the vinyl appreciation series Future Nostalgia and a
is always fresh. In South Africa,
believer in the power of street art.
the writing on the walls is more
relevant than the stuff saved for
art. There is very little room for
spontaneous or unapproved art
that isn’t sanctioned by the city
or corporate sponsors. In most
of the other African cities I have
visited, there is informal public
art everywhere in various forms,
from sign writing to street performances and graffiti, but unfortunately it’s mostly unfunded.
I think Johannesburg is a great
example of a city that allows
both approved and spontaneous
acts of public art that represent
many different voices and views
of the city.”
Why are there
so many legal streetartworks from
international artists
in Woodstock but so
few local artists?
ATIYYAH KAHN
bourgeoise galleries. I find the
hidden spaces under bridges, in
between alleys or inside abandoned buildings much more interesting canvases.
Having lived elsewhere
do you think there is a
stereotypical image of Cape
Town and if so, do you think
it is deserved?
Most people overseas who know
about Cape Town associate it with
a place of immense beauty. That’s
fair. People from other parts of
South Africa, though, commonly criticise it for being too European. That’s not well-deserved, because while many Germans are
scooping up precious property in
the Bo-Kaap, Cape Town is not
limited to just the few streets in
the CBD. My experience in the six
years I’ve spent living here shows
me a massive cityscape with an
incredibly diverse history, untold
stories and a rich heritage that is
often ignored. 12
MOLO DECEMBER 2014
YOU SAY
STREET TALK
PICTURE THIS
Joy Zhang
“This is the first picture that
was ever taken of my dad
and me, a few days after I was
born in Texas, and a few days
before my mom shaved my
head. Other than just being
a special photo because it’s
a special moment, it’s one of
my favourites because I can
almost feel my dad’s anxiety
at being a new parent as he
holds me; the start of his new
life adventure.”
You showed us your most cherished images, from family
snapshots to inspirational photos – and a new tattoo.
Text and images by Lisa Burnell
Wesley Howes
I’d have to say that this photo is my favourite because
it shows the three of us – my dad, my uncle and me – at our
happiest, after Liverpool had just won 2-1 against Spurs.
Poseidon, my dad’s Alsatian, was pretty stoked too.
Clint Cloete
Natalie Lucia:
“I think my favourite image
would be one on my phone of
a space cluster of numerous
gases. I am intrigued by
space and astronomy.”
“This is one of my most
meaningful tattoos – the dead
geisha – which symbolises
a big marking in the change
of my musical career when I
decided to go solo.”
Munya Makasi:
I painted a
picture of a lion and a
cheetah. I keep a copy
of this on my phone
with me because it
will always remind
me of home and of
Africa’s nature.
Ryan Geduldt
“Right now my favourite or most
meaningful image is the tattoo
that I want to get: it’s a design of
a cross fused with a treble clef, a
mix of my music and my faith, with
Psalm 24 written in music notes
underneath it.”
Tendai Mahlengwe
Adrian Lucas:
I keep these photos with
me when I travel because
they remind me that no
matter where I am or what
I do, these people love me.
This is my weapon against
sadness.
Martin Marais
“I think any picture of Table
Mountain is always my favourite.
No matter where I am in the world,
the moment I see that mountain
I’m reminded of the place I call
home.”
“My favourite piece of artwork is a
political painting done by the local
artist Ayanda Mabulu, which I first
saw in the World Art Gallery. The
piece speaks to the truth about
political leaders. Desmond Tutu,
Queen Elizabeth, Obama, to name
a few, all sitting around one table.
Mugabe was nailing his tongue
while Obama was sharpening his.
This piece particularly touched me
because it showed the truth about
politics, and how politicians lie to
their people.”