The A-Listers

SOCIALS | Artists in fundraising action in the Factory and at the Market

12 May 2019 - 00:00


Twins with a creative bent, a US import who believes art is a catalyst for continental growth and a stylish art patron who has swapped state marketing for something more "arty-farty".
Then there was the Cape Flats activist not afraid to speak her mind on state capture (no, not Auntie Pat) and a world-acclaimed dancer.
These were a few of the people I met when I trekked down to Joburg's inner city on Thursday for a night of performance peppered with art.
First, I head down a nondescript road near the Oriental Plaza to the home of one of the country's first art collectives.
The Bag Factory - a series of studios that used to be just that - was founded in 1991 by that great Alexandra-born fine artist, David Koloane, and Brit philanthropist Sir Robert Loder.
The collective was holding its annual winter salon fundraiser that allows art lovers to pick up affordably priced works from a range of artists, from big names like Nelson Makamo and Sam Nhlengethwa to new bloods like lanky recent Wits grad Joe Turpin.
"I love the ecstasy of colour, and my work is also always informed by history," says Joe, the son of the late photographer Gisele Wulfsohn.
He is displaying a work titled 10th Floor Story.
While the 23-year-old prefers canvas, it turns out his twin brother, Sam, who came out to support his sibling, has an affinity for the microphone as a budding rapper.
On to Zachary Isdahl, an American recently appointed vice-chair of the Bag Factory board, who says he has "a side passion in the arts".
Zachary, the programme director for an international nonprofit, believes contemporary African art can be a key driver for development across the continent.
That's why he, with his wife, Nansubuga, established an arts consultancy called Africa Facing Art.
Someone else who is a strong believer in the pull of the creative is Makgati Molebatsi, who in another life used to be a marketer for parastatal the Passenger Rail Agency of SA.
"Now she's into arty-farty," jokes Diana Hyslop, one of the Bag Factory resident artists whose works are also on display.From an arts centre named after a manufacturer of accessories and on to a theatre taking its moniker from a place where fruit and veg were once sold.
Many around the world know the Market Theatre as SA's "Theatre of the Struggle" and it is in its foyer that I meet one of the country's greatest activists.Cheryl Carolus - you might remember that she didn't hold back at the Zondo commission last year when, as the former SAA chair, she described the state the national carrier ended up in under Malusi Gigaba as "shocking" - is there with her husband, academic Graeme Bloch.I ask Cheryl, wearing a smart floral jacket with slacks, what brings her to the theatre.Turns out she's long been a supporter of choreographer Gregory Maqoma, whose work Exit and Exist is being presented that evening."You know, we gave Greg his first international exposure at the Celebrate South Africa Festival in London in 2001," she says, mentioning one of the many highlights of her term as SA's high commissioner in the UK from 1998 to 2001."What is so wonderful about Greg is that he has kept those relationships over the years, as he has grown as an artist. Today he's dancing all around the world."

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