Our first exhibition, Freedumb, took place for one-night-only at Assemblage Studios in Newtown, Johannesburg last week Thursday, October 30th. The exhibition was curated by Korean-based art organisation, Public Delivery and features a behind-the-scenes look at the processes and lifestyles of graffiti writers, mainly within Europe’s underground subway system.
This show forms part of a series of worldwide exhibitions. Having previously traveled to Zurich (Switzerland), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Paris (France) in September, the new goal was to reach all corners of the globe - launches in 6 continents! Within three days, global shows took place in Toronto (Canada), Bangkok (Thailand), Brisbane (Australia), Valencia (Spain) and Brasilia (Brazil), among others. The African leg in Johannesburg, South Africa was organised and hosted by Cale Waddacor, founder of the Graffiti South Africa website. With only one week to find a venue and secure all the logistics, the event was a great success.
This is one of the few exhibitions to reach a global audiences such little time, while showcasing previously unseen and unpublished works by some of the most infamous graffiti writers. Photographic prints, installations and video projections took viewers into a world seldom seen in the public eye - immersing oneself in the world of the graffiti writer.
The featured artists included photographer Phil America (USA) and some of the world’s most renowned international graffiti writers, Germany’s Taps & Moses™, and the Bonnie & Clyde of graffiti – Utah & Ether, also from USA. These duos have both produced books and have a large online following, whilst continuing to defy the long arm of the law.
All the proceeds of the show went in support of The Grifters, a European collective who document youth living and creating outside of the legal parameters. They themselves are in some legal trouble at the moment as they have become synonymous within the graffiti scene for defying the normal aesthetics of graffiti culture – that of being anonymous.
The Johannesburg show was set within the arts district of Newtown, just outside of the bustling CBD. The alley-way filled with work by some of the best local graffiti artists was the perfect backdrop. Grolsch were amazing enough to supply beverages for the night, their beautiful limited edition 450ml bottles were throughly enjoyed and everyone ended up taking them home with them - one lady took an entire bag-full home!
Unfortunately, the show was taken down the following day, but leftover prints are up for sale on Graffiti South Africa’s Big Cartel page. Please direct any inquiries via email.
“This just makes me want to go out and f-ck sh-t up.” was a well-noted remark by one young lad.
Special thanks and shoutouts to the artists, Martin & Phil at Public Delivery, Day and Assemblage, Grolsch Premium Lager, and everyone that attended.
The show is a catalyst for more events from Graffiti SA in 2015, be sure to look out for them.