Maboneng, the place of lights – an area in the inner City of Johannesburg – becomes a vibrant urban district where artist and art co-exist.
A hub of Johannesburg‘s contemporary urban artists, this mixed urban-space hosts art galleries, private artist studios, theatre, an independent cinema, fashion shops, characterful cafes, bars and restaurants.
Straight down on the almost endless Commissionar street of Johannesburg CBD, ask your taxi driver to turn left when the indication « Welcome to Arts on Main here » appears. Get out of your cab in front of the 12 Decades Hotel on the Fox Street and start your Maboneng walk.
The 12 Decades Art Hotel is already a piece being one of the refurbished buildings of the area. Each of the Arthotel’s12 rooms was designed by a contemporary South African artists reflecting the history of Johannesburg from the past decades.
The room of the « Perpetual Liberty » designed by Enricco Daffonchio, features a transition from the darkside of South African History and progressively achieving the light as you move closer to the giant window of the room. The amazing view of the layered city inspires a kind of step out from the present and a jump to the future.
All this creativity started with the arrival of William Kentridge in Maboneng, a world-known, South African contemporary artist, followed by the investor of the Goodman Gallery and the Goethe Institute.
This cultural oasis seats from October. Africa’s first design museum, the MOAD – The Museum of African Design, transformed from a factory warehouse to a museum, the building has already hosted couple of events, such as Michel Gondry’s Home Movie Factory, the MOAD fashion show. The inaugural exhibition « Native Nostalgia » will reflect a selection of mix media from around Africa and artists inspired by their histories, offering news views and approaches on the past.
One of the artists, Hannelie Coetzee has moved to the area 2 years ago. Her work goes beyond her studio as she uses the surrounding streets for canvas. I remained fascinated in front of the building of Kruger Street as her 5-strorey high mosaic eye looked down at me. The piece called «The Change Agent» looks symbolically on Main street and interprets visionaries of the area as observing the city’s mining and financial heart.
No big walls, no gates, you are free to walk around to enjoy more than 30 public art pieces that exist in the close area of the precinct. South African and international artists get inspired and make their marks in this creative destination where art is used as a vehicle of the freedom of expression.
Check out The Revolution House Roof top decorated by Roa and by Falco, as part of the Adidas/Area Joburg Art project or the «ProtecticMagic» graffiti created by the Ukrainian artist Interesni Kazki…
Hope you’re feeling the «Jozi Lifestyle» as the Maboneng area has a lot of potential and much to explore if you’re looking for diversity transporting you from a formally «no-go area» to a vibe and a well-designed mixup.
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