/ 31 July 1998

Soul for sale

Roger Pratt

This weekend Soul Trading, a new Johannesburg-based outfit trading in rare and exotic goods, will be holding the first in a series of weekend bazaars showcasing select ranges of handicrafts from around the world. This first show covers an eclectic range, from Moroccan lanterns to tooled Tuareg leather, Balinese wood, rattan and basketware and old Chinese prints from Macao.

“For us there is a simple criterion,” says Soul Trading’s Adam Levin, “Soul. Some objects have it. And some don’t.”

“We’re not really interested in curios or tribal art,” says partner Jason Lurie. “And nothing too decorated. We look for simple, utilitarian objects that, in their design or texture, tell us something about the cultures that shaped them. There’s no reason you can’t be eating dinner off big, black, earthenware plates from West Africa with lacquered Japanese chopsticks.”

Having worked as a travel writer in some 40 countries, Levin has long had his eye on the handicraft market. “I guess I get obsessed when I travel,” he says. “When my eye caught the metallic sheen on the hand- woven cottons in Java I couldn’t look at anything else. They had to come home, and they had to become kimonos.”

Over the weekend Levin and Lurie will be hopping around in fezzes serving mint tea. “The world is such an exotic fantasy trip,” says Levin. ” So we’re celebrating that. I can’t begin to detail the ridiculous things that have transpired while dealing with such an obscure clutch of developing countries. So now we’re going to have some fun with it.”

Soul Trading’s weekend bazaar runs until Sunday August 2 from 10 am to 7pm, at 54 5th Ave Parktown North. Tel: 442 6750/083 254 3995