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JOHANNESBURG ART CITY 2004 (article first published : 2004-06-29)

South African artists are invited again to turn the centre of Johannesburg into a giant outdoor gallery and to celebrate a decade of democracy with the city of gold. Johannesburg Art City 2004 forms part of a major- project commemorating 10 years of freedom in South Africa. It is a collaborative project between the City Council and the Johannesburg business community represented by the Central Johannesburg Partnership.

The first Johannesburg Art City Competition ran in 2002 to great acclaim, showcasing contemporary South African art for both the general public and overseas tourists visiting the city for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

This year the project is to be run in two phases, the first of which will be an exhibition of resistance posters entitled Images of Defiance. The posters are all from the collection of the South African History Archive.

Posters were used to defy the apartheid regime in the 1980s. They gave voice to the oppressed in their struggle to liberate their country. Many of the posters in this exhibition were banned and confiscated soon after they were made. But cultural activists hid and preserved them for a future liberated South Africa.

The exhibition includes posters from the 1980s, with some examples from the years before and after. With the rise of organised labour and non-governmental groups during the 1980s, posters became powerful tools of resistance. They focused on issues which were important to communities whose basic rights were threatened. They were made by ordinary people and trained artists in silkscreen workshops, or by sympathetic professional printers. Banners were also created, as were murals and sculptures in what were known as Peoples Parks. The exhibition is currently running at Museum Africa in Newtown.

The second phase of Johannesburg Art City will be the national art competition with the theme of “freedom”. A prestigious panel – including Bongi Dhlomo, Xoulla Finisteris, Frank Ledimo and Steven Sack – will select 20 works for the art city project. The images will be enlarged without distortion and reproduced on huge “canvasses” for exhibition on selected sites throughout the city. It is anticipated that they will be erected by September 1 this year.

Each of the 20 selected artists will receive R5,000 with a further R5,000 going to a single artist whose work the panellists have identified as outstanding. Another award of R5,000 will be made for the public’s favourite work of art.

The closing date for entries is July 9. The artwork must be delivered to the collection point on before the closing date, together with the entry form completed in full, the artist’s curriculum vitae and, where appropriate, the letter of consent completed and signed by the artist.

The competition is open to all South African artists, resident and working in South Africa. Artists entering work must have had at least one group or solo exhibition in a reputable gallery within the last three years. Artists may submit a maximum of two works. The work/s may be a new work or must have been created during the last decade of democracy i.e. completed within the period April 1994 to date.

The entry form and a full list of conditions can be downloaded from www.cjp.co.za or emailed/faxed on request from Buz Publicity on 011 673 4995/9272 or email info@buz.co.za

The Johannesburg Art City 2004 exhibition is organised by The City of Johannesburg, the Central Johannesburg Partnership, the Johannesburg Inner City Business Coalition and the Johannesburg Development Agency, with support from Business and Arts South Africa.




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