Trevor Stuurman on leaving home to come home

For many, home has four walls with a kitchen, bedroom and fond memories, but for others, people are what makes a home. 

A Place Called Home is an art exhibition by Botho Project Space, launched by visual artist Trevor Stuurman.

“The original idea was doing a show on the concept of home, and what it means to be home for the new generation. Moving from what used to be called ‘home’ and what they call home today. We have built the exhibition around showcasing art in a home space,” says Botho’s codirector, Anna Reverdy.

Captured: ‘A Place Called Home’ is showing at a home in Parktown West. ‘Hairtage’ (above) is part of the ‘Tongoro Beauty’ series and below are images from the ‘Arise Africas’ series 

Copiloting this project is South Africa’s award-winning contemporary visual artist, Trevor Stuurman, who through his designs has narrated his journey with a reminder that a home is a place of belonging. 

Stuurman, originally from Kimberley, has dedicated his work to his hometown, which explains where he comes from and how his journey started. 

He describes himself as a seasoned explorer, and cites travel as his inspiration. “The more I leave home, the more I realise the power and currency that home has. That, in turn, makes me a better storyteller because I am able to find the pieces of home wherever I go and then create tangible products.”

This is his first solo exhibition in South Africa. For Stuurman, home is a place where we surrender our vulnerability and gain courage to thrive.  “Home is a place where one is known to be vulnerable. A space meant for people to be moulded and ultimately thrive in. It is where humans discover their own version of comfort, solace and meaning.” 

Stuurman has exhibited in a group of exhibitions at Digitalia: The Art and Economy of Ideas in San Francisco at the Museum of the African Diaspora. He has curated his own installations; Teleporting into Afrika and This is Home for the Absolut One Source Live creative festivals and This is Home at the Motsepe Foundation’s Mandela 100 Summit.

For the Botho project exhibition, Stuurman said his work has been shot in different parts of the continent, in places where he feels most alive. “I will always highlight where I come from because it is what has brought me here.”

As part of A Place Called Home Botho and Stuurman are hosting Sunday Best alongside the month-long exhibition. Combining art, music and food, the experiences will take place every Sunday and will include a series of curated dining experiences by a selection of South African chefs, paired with local musicians.

For Stuurman, Sundays are about spending time with family enjoying a “seven colours” meal. Visitors are expected to dress in their Sunday best when they gather around the table with their loved ones and enjoy conversation, food and music. 

Other artists will be exhibiting their work alongside Stuurman at a home in Parktown West, Johannesburg.

Stuurman has collaborated with leading furniture and homeware retailer Weylandts to infuse the exhibition with authentic design, using many of the same pieces the artist has in his own home.

Weylandts founder Chris Weylandt says of the collaboration: “As a lifestyle brand, we recognise the importance of storytelling. We understand that humans are shaped by their environments, so we encourage people to celebrate their personal style and tell their story when creating their home sanctuaries. Our collaboration allows us to celebrate his unique style, while demonstrating how design can influence the way we live.

“Home is more than just four walls,” continues Weylandt. “A house becomes a home as spaces are navigated, emotions are felt and personal style is expressed.

“The home is therefore the perfect blank canvas for life’s stories to emerge.”

Stuurman expressed his gratitude to Botho for continuously creating a space for independent artists around the world to showcase

their artwork. 

Reverdy said the Botho space encouraged artistic freedom and experimentation and all projects are disseminated through exhibitions that are conceived through open and robust discussions with independent artists, writers and curators.

“Botho identifies as a pan-African visual arts platform, with intentions of creating solid relationships with like-minded institutions, visual artists, curators and thinkers who live and work on the African continent and in the diaspora,” she said.

In April, Botho concluded its first exhibition in Los Angeles. Reverdy said the Los Angeles  project was for independent artists to have a space where their work can be seen. 

She highlighted that with A Place Called Home they will recreate a space where South Africans can relive their own Sundays at home, the special memories and moments that make these days special. 

“We are collaborating with designers and musicians. Everyone collaborating around one theme based on your definition of home and what are your memories,” says Reverdy.

Botho – which translates as Ubuntu in Zulu – and Home are more than just about space or a geographical location. Home is about who we are. No matter where we are. 

The exhibition is set in a home in 26 Rhodes Avenue, Parktown West, Johannesburg, and will open to the public on 20 May. It is open from 11am to 5pm

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