Thabo the Tourist’s passion of taking people to art spaces in Johannesburg

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

When Thabo Modise and I arrived at Circa gallery in Parkwood on Saturday, October 8, 2021, we found a group of people, visitors to the gallery surrounding artists Lady Skollie as she spoke about her current exhibition, which has been extended until October 30.

Skollie, a extremely outspoken artist, whose outspokenness is so loud that it can only be matched by the liberal use of bold colours in her paintings as she tells stories of her life, mainly her journey and place in society as a person of colour.

Lady Skolie was telling the mainly white audience that her work is about her mixed race heritage and how she relates to the rest of society, white and black people in particular.

If there is one thing that Lady Skollie does well and tastefully, it is the use of colours, bright colours something that would be a disaster for others If not used appropriately, but no her.

“I have stopped calling myself a Coloured person in recent years. I now call myself a bushman,” Lady Skollie told an attentive audience and in a way she was appropriating this word that traditionally was used by colonialists and racist to denigrate  indigenous communities of southern Africa, such as the Sun and Khoi people.

I attended this exhibition as a guest of Thabo the Tourist, whose real name is Thabo Modise. He invited me to tour a number of galleries and exhibitions around

Parkwood and Parktown North. Because I am actually familiar with the gallery spaces  as a regular visitor myself, I accepted the invitation just  to find out what his new venture is all about. And boy we had fun either by lucky or design, it really does not matter.

You see the Zeerust, North West born, but now Johannesburg based serial entrepreneur who has in the past run several enterprises, ranging from a photographic studio to tourism, is embarking on a new journey, and that is to organize gallery tours for groups and individuals, aimed at connecting especially young professionals and tertiary students in addition to other population demographics, to art gallery and exhibition experiences around Johannesburg.

Guests at Lady Skollie Exhibtion

Already well networked with galleries and curators, Thabo The Tourist wants people to feel the healing power of art, by organizing these tours where he will act as a an art guide for those who want to experience art in a different and fresh way.

“I have been in the creative sector for over a decade now, connecting artists to the art market, ranging from working with fashion designers, musicians to visual artists. I am the main brain behind the Vilakazi Night Street Market, in Soweto, which became such a big success only to be disrupted by Covid-19 in 2020. I have won several awards in the creative and tourism sector, including being nominated for the Lilizela Awards for Tourism organized by South African Tourism, and being selected by South African tourism as one of the top tourism entrepreneurs in the country.

“For me tourism and art are interlinked, but often what happens is that people simply are not aware of how to access an immersive art experience, and I am here to assist with regards to that, whether it is corporates who want to add an informed art experience as part of their team building exercise, or an individual who would like to be taken on an informed art tour, I am there to make that happen,” Thabo the Tourist said.

Thabo the Tourist believes that many people in South Africa would like to experience art, but because of fear of visiting exhibitions alone sometimes, the experience can be intimidating, therefore people deny themselves of a healing experience of visiting exhibitions and art works. In his gallery tours he caters for local people, intra-provincial travelers and international visitors.

“To add to my answer regarding my target market, I would like to make it clear that my target market is based more on different travel personality types. Anyone that is falling under these below personality types are basically my target market.

Venturers – Someone who goes to more places, more often and participate in more unique experiences than anyone else.

Pioneers – They like to travel, especially to foreign destinations, and seek new experiences and new destinations for almost all trips they take. 

Voyagers – Unlike other groups, they have a lot of company that what makes them one of the largest segments of travelers. As a tour operator they are on top of my list of people I want to reach and motivate to travel. 

Journeyers – Fitting in the center of the spectrum, they have a steady, predictable approach to daily life. 

Sightseeirs – They are laid back, calm, easygoing, happy-go-lucky, unruffled, untroubled, informal, unceremonious, casual and carefree.

All these personalities can be found in any age group however they are more dominant between the ages of 21 to 65 years,” Thabo The Tourist said.

Thabo The Tourist says in his experience some people might want an answer to the following question in as far as the art gallery tours he organizes are concerned.

I have come across a good question that might be wriggling on everyone’s mind regarding our art gallery experience and I am grateful to share it with you.

Why do you think I need an art gallery guide or partner? /Or is it important to have an art gallery guide? Now, you have to agree with me that this is indeed a great question.

Well, the answer is: It is artistically proven that it sometimes gets very lonely, if not intimidating to visit the art gallery space alone irrespective of you being the first timer or not. Now, as an art gallery guide or partner.  I am here to accompany you, design your itinerary, introduce you to new artistic environments, advise when is necessary, save your precious commodity “time” and update you with the latest art exhibitions, news and trends.

For more info; simply click on the link below 

Explore art galleries with Thabo the Tourist

Alternatively visit IamJoburg website or send an email 

#artgallerytourza #joburggalleries  #arttourism #hoponartgalleries #exploreartgallerieswiththabothetourist #wedoart #wedotourism.”

.Thabo the Tourist’s gallery tours cost R880 per person, and this includes transport and lunch during the tour and for more information Thabo The Tourist can be contacted at thabothetourist@gmail

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