CN&CO’s Colin Ford and Rikus Kok joined a group of art fans at the opening of the latest pop-up exhibition at Art@First at Merchant Place, the headquarters of FirstRand and our partners RMB. The collection, entitled Relational Chemistry, was curated by our friends at the Bag Factory Artists Studios – who are also partners with Fulcrum in the Suzanne Shaw Creative Awards.
According to the official statement, “This exhibition showcases the chemistry that develops between the artists, studio space and surrounding environments. The work exhibited is a reflection on the informal exchanges of ideas, cultures, knowledge and experiences that continuously influence and are influenced by a creative community.” For Colin and Rikus, it was a just fun event with some really great art to look at!
“The art was amazing,” says Colin. “I especially enjoyed Diana Hyslop’s blue banana and the works by Nelson Makamo. There were also some interesting pieces by Thonton Kabeya, Asanda Kupa (see header image above), David Koloane and Alka Dass. Well done to the Bag Factory and especially Aysha Waja, who curated the show.”
Rikus’s favourite was the interactive piece at the entrance by Blessing Ngobeni.
“It’s a piece called Intellectual Poverty, which the FirstRand guys reproduced and cut up into 100 postcards for visitors to re-assemble at the event,” he says. “It was a lot of fun putting all the postcards back together – we got to meet new people and see the final piece right at the end.”
The piece itself depicts the plight of South African graduates who remain unemployed despite their qualifications, and are forced to stroll the streets looking for work.
Also read: FirstRand exhibition celebrates women in the arts
Relational Chemistry in on at Art@First, 4 Merchant Place, corner Fredman Drive and Rivonia Road, Sandton until 8 December 2017. The artworks are all for sale at very competitive prices.
About Relational Chemistry
Relational Chemistry is the manifestation of a collective and collaborative creative environment that exists within the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios.
(As mentioned earlier) This exhibition showcases the chemistry that develops between the artists, studio space and surrounding environments. The work exhibited is a reflection on the informal exchanges of ideas, cultures, knowledge and experiences that continuously influence and are influenced by a creative community. The space houses artists across mediums, age, career level and background adding to a unique mix of artists and experiences.
Featuring works by David Koloane, Pat Muatloa, Pumulani Ntuli, Pebofatso Mokoena, Asuka Nirasaw, Bev Butkow, Diana Hyslop, Asanda Kupa, Tshepo Mosopa, Thonton Kabeya, Alka Dass, Usha Seejarim, Gail Behrmann and LL Editions.
There were also work on display by Nelson Makamo and Blessing Ngobeni.
About the Bag Factory
The Bag Factory was the first NPO to start a collaborative studio space for artists, particularly in the visual arts. As a melting pot of visual creatives for over 25 years, the Bag Factory has witnessed, nurtured and given rise to the careers of many established and emerging South African artists.
Its groundbreaking and internationally renowned visiting artists’ programme, as well as its numerous professional practice workshops and exhibitions, have extended the scope of the organisation to support, promote and develop the visual arts and artists in South Africa. The Bag Factory has partnered with many other organisations around the world and is a member of the international Triangle Network.
In August 2016 FirstRand opened a pop-up gallery exhibition space at 4 Merchant Place, Sandton, in partnership with Theresa Lizamore of Lizamore & Associates. Known as Art@First, the space showcases the work of emerging and established South African artists.
It’s a fantastic space and well worth a visit if you’re in the Sandton area.
About Blessing Ngobeni
At the age of 10, Blessing Ngobeni fled his childhood home in Limpopo, leaving behind the abusive life he suffered there. For the next five years he survived on the streets of Joburg’s Alexandra township, until he was arrested for armed robbery and sentenced to nine years in prison. In 2006 he was released from gaol, having served six years.
While incarcerated, Blessing completed his matric and taught himself to paint. He had found his passion, and knew that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Today he is the darling of the local art scene, having exhibited and sold works across South Africa and abroad, his most memorable sale being to Hollywood star Samuel L. Jackson. His work is very political, highlighting the plight of society’s marginalised communities.
Blessing’s tale is one of many where artistic pursuit has led to triumph out of adversity. And if there’s one thing we love as South Africans, it’s a good story.