Jo'burg art picks: March 24 2012

The delightful art of Joël Mpah Dooh is described as “a perfect blend of intellect and emotion with a sophisticated understanding of the formal properties of art to produce a refined and passionate record of the important aspects of living life”.

There is something everyday and autobiographical in his humorous depictions of humans in often mysterious circumstances. His press bumf tells us he “explores the fragility of individual human identity and how it reinvents itself while moving and evolving in the city”. The exhibition, titled Let’s Take a Walk!, includes works on paper, canvas, corrugated iron and Perspex, mixing earth, colours, clay, packaging and wood. Mpah Dooh lives and works in Douala, Cameroon, and studied fine art in Amiens, France.

Momo Gallery, 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, until April 16.

■ Umuzi Photo Club is holding an exhibition and campaign launch titled I Am an Activist on March 29 to showcase creative youth activism initiatives across Johannesburg.

A month-long photography exhibition will include multimedia screenings featuring personal stories from youngsters, as well as large-scale photography installations intended to transform Braamfontein into a youth activism hub. Two multimedia presentations created by youngsters from Umuzi can be viewed online. In the first, Rudzani Matshili wants to raise awareness about service delivery problems in Diepsloot. Watch the video at In the second, Morgan Faku, haunted by his mother’s unemployment and alcoholism, is driven to document the fate of Alexandra’s school ­dropouts. Watch the video at

Velo, Melle Street, Braamfontein, on March 29 at 6pm. Website:

■ Goethe on Main will host a performance piece titled Not No Place, a work that takes the book-making process into a formal art space. The gallery will be turned into a studio in which material for a book on Johannesburg is shown as print, text, painting, performance and installation. The book is said to “interweave personal memories with quotations and reflective accounts, as well as ­science fiction, in an attempt to explore the complex making and shifting of a city as both a lived place and an imagined no-place”.

Goethe on Main is at Arts on Main, corner of Main and Fox streets, Jo’burg central business district. The performance begins at 6pm on March 24.

■ Even though the paint on its walls has not yet dried, the Wits Art Museum is already hosting events. The venue will host the launch of the book Figuring Faith: Images of Belief in Africa (Fourthwall Books). It is a documentation and extension of a 2006 Standard Bank Gallery exhibition curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith, who is also the brains behind the book. It apparently brings together “debates and discussions on faith and art that the exhibition gave rise to and shed[s] light on the ways in which art interprets, exemplifies and challenges belief and ritual”.

Wits Art Museum, corner of Jorissen and Bertha streets (extension of Jan Smuts Avenue), Braamfontein, on March 27 at 6pm.

Matthew Krouse

Matthew Krouse

Matthew Krouse is the arts editor of the Mail & Guardian, a position he has held since 1999. He has edited two anthologies: Positions (Steidl, Jacana Media 2010) about artists engaging with politics in South Africa today, and The Invisible Ghetto (GMP, 1994) a compilation of creative writing about gender. His essays have appeared in collected works about arts and culture here and abroad. He has worked in the theatre for over a decade as an actor, writer and senior publicist at the Market Theatre. Read more from Matthew Krouse

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