Creating a New Place

The fire that destroyed the original APS location also took the life of co-founder and artist Nhlanhla Xaba.

Sum up our experiences so far in one word you ask? How about “Innovation”. All of the places we’ve visited the past two days have shown us how the people in Johannesburg have thought about spaces in new ways —

  • transforming an old bus depot into a printmaking studio to teach young adults how to be artists (Artist Proof Studio)
  • changing the culture through an understanding of the importance of museums in preserving history (Apartheid Museum)
  • creating a transparent and open room for the highest court on the site of a former holding block for political prisoners (Constitution Court)
  • publishing educational tools to develop visual literacy about the artists of South Africa in schools and community organizations (David Krut)

These innovations have not come without setbacks, as we saw at the Artist Proof Studio — the picture here was a collaborative effort between teachers and students. Remains of a fire at their initial location were collected and turned into collages, prints and sculptures — literally beauty from tragedy.

What I’ve been drawn to most is the transformation of both the physical and psychological spaces related to arts, culture and history.