Visual and live performance arts feast at Johannesburg arts hub

This programme titled The Artist is Present is a collaborative effort by  respected visual artist Vusi Beauchamp and performance artist Siya Mthembu of The Brother Moves On fame, takes place this Sunday in Selby, Johannesburg.

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

Would you like to experience an artistic experience, an arts activity and form of expression with a difference, the unusual meeting of minds between performing artists and visual artists in an experimental fashion? If the answer is yes, you would be happy to know that a unique well curated experimental artistic experience has been put together by two daring Johannesburg based internationally reputed artists for your enjoyment this Sunday. I got my invite this week to this unique programme and it is inviting for a Sunday experience and disruption of an often monotonous take it easy attitude.

 I first got to know about this new arts hub last year when visual artist Vusi Beauchamp  inivited me to the place. At the time there were about four to five studios that were already operating, with visual artists and fashion designers having taken residency there. Vusi who until that stage was based at August House Studios, another arts hub in inner city Johannesburg, told me about his plans to turn this Selby based arts hub into a vibrant, interdisciplinary arts centre South of Johannesburg, a 1o minute drive from Johannesburg CBD. The Selby area traditionally has been an industrial place with factories of all kinds dotted around this place, manufacturing all kinds of  products from those used domestically to those meant for industrial use.

Vusi Beauchamp

But with the decimation of the manufacturing sector in the country over the years, Selby, just like other industrial nodes that had manufacturing capacity, found itself becoming a shell of what it used to be. Its manufacturing capacity has been reduced as only a few factories are still operating. However with Johannesburg clearly becoming an important city of choice for especially visual artists, it looks like Selby will become yet another place that will soon become an important area to look for fresh art. This will not be a new phenomenon, as Johannesburg east has Victoria Yards, another vibrant arts hub with a number of visual artists having taken studio space there, Johannesburg CBD has August House Studios, Newtown has Umhlabathi, an arts hub run and managed by photographers, which launched late last year, and Fordsburg has  Artist Proof Studios and the near leafy suburb of Houghton has Artist Proof Studios, making Johannesburg a densely populated arts hub in South Africa, from the East to the West, North to the South.

At the Selby arts hub, from the last time I was there, I am told that ever since more visual artists have moved in and the place is now one of the most important addresses in Johannesburg for art collectors looking for fresh art from both emerging and established contemporary artists in South Africa.

Now only that, Vusi and his mates at this arts hub are now taking the next step of making this place in fact a multi-disciplinary arts hub, that besides accommodating the studios of visual artists and fashion designers, is now geared to also accommodate other artists through carefully curated events with meticulously chosen artists in a programme calledThe Artist is Present.

The first iteration of that is taking place this Sunday, February 13, 2022.
The Artist is Present, is a collaborative effort between performing artists and visual artists, conceptualized by Vusi  and Siya Mthembu (The Brother Moves On fame) who seek to foster a multifaceted experience encapsulated in one building with various artists in their studio’s. The experience will take place in the artist studio, where by the artist will continue to paint or draw whilst the band performs and the audience in attendance will have an opportunity to be present in the meeting of creative minds at work. 

The two curators of The Artist is Present are some of the well known arts personalities in Johannesburg whose reputations as practicing artists go beyond the borders of South Africa. Vusi is a significant voice on the South African contemporary art scene, whose works have been exhibited extensively in several galleries around the country and whose collector base extents to overseas countries.

Siya and his experimental, alternative, genre defying outfit The Brother Moves on do not need introduction to any discerning music lover in the country and beyond. Having emerged in the late 2000, The Brother Moves On, have been featured at several high profile gigs in South Africa and overseas. In fact their overseas programme of gigs seems to have been only disrupted by the arrival of Covid-19 globally, as especially Europe seemed to have been their second home, besides South Africa.

Between the two of them, they have curated an exciting programme of musicians and visual artists, Vusi handling the visual art aspect of it, and Siya the musical part of The Artist is Present, to present t a programme  that many are bound to find a necessary excursion to break the usual Sunday monotony of life.

The visual artists who will take part in the programme are Vusi Beauchamp, Ludumo Maqabuka, Dathini Mzayiya and Frans Thoka and the musical aspect of it features The Brother Moves On, BCUC, The Nomadic Orchestra and various Dj’s.

.Entrance fee: via Quiket R120.00 and at the door: R200

Venue: 3rd floor, Genop House, 15 Hulbert Road, New Centre, Selby

Time: From 2pm  till late

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