Showcasing SA design collectibles


Johannesburg’s artistic landscape is expanding with the opening of dynamic new space in Rosebank’s Keyes Art Mile precinct by art dealers Justin Rhodes and Ashleigh McLean and design gallerists Trevyn and Julian McGowan.

The StudioMAS designed Trumpet building hosts the 300 square metre contemporary exhibition space and signals the partnership between leading contemporary art gallery WHATIFTHEWORLD and esteemed collectible design platform Southern Guild.

With both galleries strongly focused on representing artists and designers from around Africa, this collaboration is expected to be a groundbreaking year-round showcase of the best work from the continent.

“Johannesburg is an influential business and cultural hub, and its geographic location and reputation for creativity make it the perfect location for this exhibition space that will be a reflection of what’s happening art-and design-wise in Africa,” says Justin Rhodes, adding that artists represented hail from as far as Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Mali. “What we’re excited to show is a continental perspective.”

The first show presents work by Nigerian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo, Zimbawean sculptor Moffat Takadiwa and visual artist Athi-Patra Ruga alongside limited-edition furniture by leading African designers such as Cheick Diallo, Hamed Ouattara and the late Babacar Niang as well as South African heroes Gregor Jenkin, Porky Hefer and Dokter and Misses.

Showcasing SA design on a collectible level, Southern Guild gallerists Trevyn and Julian McGowan describe South African design as ”Authentic, with an inquisitive, adventurous spirit. Pieces often possess a good sense of humour. But, most importantly, they are all touched and developed by hand. Most of our designers are not only designers – they’re makers too. And so their work is crafted with particular attention to detail. And when machines are involved, there’s still such care given to these pieces that they’re still very much true to the designer’s narrative. It’s not about passing trends – it’s about a lasting visual language”.

Commenting on their other design projects – Cape Town’s The Watershed and Joburg’s Work Shop New Town – Trevyn McGowan explains that ”the idea was to create special retail hubs where people can purchase South African products. They’re spaces dedicated to the talent that is so rich in this country. They’ve created a better awareness of the diversity of design available locally, have had a great impact on the local design economy, and have shown the youths that there really is money to be made in design in this country. By offering these platforms where local design is easy to access in one space people are given an easy route to procure locally designed and produced goods. The new way of shopping – away from a traditional mall – has also been a welcome experience for shoppers”.

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