Creative Showcase: Suburbia, climate change and memes
Katrine Claassens is an artist living and working in Cape Town. It is here, at the University of Cape Town, that she is currently studying towards a Master’s degree in Climate Change and Sustainable Development – intent on forming a solid basis of knowledge that will enable her to fully communicate her deepest concerns through her art. In her second solo exhibition titled Between the Blue Swimming Pools, she expressed some of these concerns by looking at the emotional landscapes as well as the problematic environmental costs of the one of the world’s most desired living spaces: the suburbs.
Working from old photographs and more recently, from images sourced from the internet, Katrine’s paintings sometimes appear flat and nearly bleached while at other times are layered with a sense of depth. Of her work, she says, “One walks a fine line when one’s work leans towards nostalgia – you can so easily fall into sentimentality. My work has often been described as nostalgic and I understand why as I work from old photographs and there is often a blurry quality to the work. This being said I think there is a violence in my work which is often overlooked because of the seductive nature of memories. These days I am more interested in ‘solastalgia’, a term which describes melancholy and trauma brought on by personal experiences of environmental degradation due to climate change (amongst other things).”
Bored and frustrated with the conventional ‘white cube’ galleries in Jo’burg, longtime collaborators MJ Turpin and Matthew Dean decided to establish their own space that could engage with different art forms – and indeed re-interrogate what ‘art’ is – in ways not being seen in already established gallery and museum spaces. Thus Kalashnikovv Gallery came hurtling onto the Jo’burg art scene in early 2013.
Since then, Kalashnikovv has hosted over a dozen exhibitions plus a range of other festivals, parties and events thrown into the mix. Through this they’ve cultivated a new following for a different kind of ‘art scene’, one which has its finger firmly on the youth culture pulse of Jo’burg right now. This year the Kalashnikovv familia continues to grow with new artists being signed to the gallery, and a few months ago, the move to a larger gallery space in Braamfontein. Whenever asked what’s next, MJ and Matt answer with the ubiquitous “big things”.
Continuing the ZX Flux story, adidas Originals casts the spotlight on influencers from different backgrounds in a new video series: Future Collectors. The series features photographer and artist Anthony Bila, DJ/producer Johan Venter and skateboarder and entrepreneur Wandile Msomi – each chosen for their unique point of view and their genuine enthusiasm for the ZX Flux. Through various mediums such as photography, music, writing and art, Anthony is concerned with bringing Africa to the world and the world to Africa. As a multi-disciplined artist, Johan’s vision is to perfect his skills and learn new ones. His desire is to be remembered as influencing or shaping a certain style. Having lived in Johannesburg for most of his life, Wandile runs a skateboard company called Funisu Skateboards and runs a skateboard shop called Home Grwn. While skating is no longer what he does every day, he intends to focus on development and to inspire other skaters to work towards their goals.
To coincide with the year that JWT celebrates its 150th anniversary around the globe, the JWT Cape Town team have moved into a brand new office space in the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Centre in De Waterkant, Greenpoint. A natural expression of JWT Cape Town’s vision of celebrating the country’s indigenous design and craftsmanship, Salt & Pepper Design were tasked to draw upon the abundance of South African talents when developing the new space. “The brief was to keep the interior light and calm, muted in tone and texture, establishing an environment where creativity can take centre-stage, infused by the city and tremendous culture surrounding it,” says Belinda Mallitte of S&P Design. From boardroom tables by Gregor Jenkin, feature lights by David Krynauw, seating by Wiid Design and a mural by Atang Tshikare – all of the interior design elements have been crafted by local designers.
David Tshabalala is a Johannesburg-based graphic designer who has recently begun an illustration-a-day project inspired by and taking place during Women’s Month. Kicking off on August 1, and running until the last day of the month, David will be sharing 31 (one per day) illustrated portraits of young South African women he admires. He will distribute these on Instagram, dubbing the undertaking an ‘instabition’. He says, “I want to profile young South African women who I consider to be the future thought leaders of South Africa. These are young women who may or may not be known under public spotlight, yet in each of their creative disciplined passions they illuminate a spirit of solidarity in power. Warrior women who will indeed inherit the earth.”