I got the opportunity to do just that when I was invited to attend the launch of Creative Week last Saturday. Creative Week, now in its fifth year, is an annual celebration of creativity, innovation and culture. It takes place during the time of the Loeries – the big advertising awards weekend. Creative Week happens throughout the week, from 13 to 21 September.
I had no idea what to expect of the Creative Week launch as I made my way to the Cape Town International Convention Centre, but I decided to keep an open mind. When I got to the reception area, a group of around 10 people, both young and old, were gathered around a coffee table waiting for more people to arrive. Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, CEO of Cape Town Partnership, outlined the programme for the morning. It was in two parts: First a walking tour with urban designer Kirsten Wilkins, looking at art installations around the city. Second (an event I did not get to attend) was a ride with young creatives on the City Sightseeing bus as they discussed how the city should celebrate and represent those who live in it.
The first work we saw on our walking tour was a 9m red sculpture called Olduvai by Zimbabwean-born Gavin Younge, a professor at the Michaelis School of Fine Arts. We then made our way across the street to The Pier Square to see six life-size sculptures, the work of Eagon Tania, a Dutch-born artist now living in Cape Town. The sculptures were installed in 2007 and depict the everyday-man and woman working in that area.
All seemed to appreciate the art, but a question that kept coming up among everyone was: “Who commissions these artworks in the city centre?”
Jetty Square, which runs along Pier Place, was our next destination – where there is an installation of ghost sharks by Ralph Borland, a South African artist. The sharks make noise when one passes them, enabling people to interact with the artwork. I realised throughout our tour that I had passed some of them in my walks around the city, but had never given much attention to them or took time to notice how others responded to them. I also got a sense that people just pass through the city art without stopping to think what the art around them communicates.
At Thibault Square, there is a scary looking installation called The Mythological Landscape by John Skotnes, born in East London. He did the installation in 1992.
As we ended our tour, the question of who curates public art in the city did not leave my mind. Are those artworks representative of all the residents of the city centre? It’s curious how that question was never satisfactorily answered. In my view, the artworks do not really reflect and represent an inclusive take on what constitutes public art. I also feel that more could be done to make the general public aware of art in the city and how it reflects and represents them. But the only way you can answer that question for yourself is if you go see the art.
Go do your own tour of art in the city this weekend and see other events taking place in and around Cape Town as part of Creative Week by clicking here.
Images by : Skye Grove
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