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Take it outside and into the heart of public art


Take it outside and into the heart of public art

A government programme and public and private investors are changing the face of Joburg’s outdoor art scene

Jo Buitendach

In a time when experiencing art in crowded galleries and museums is challenging and people from all walks of life need a morale boost, public art has never been more important. The Johannesburg inner city lays claim to hundreds of pieces of public art, created as part of a government art policy and donated by corporate and private investors. It’s hard to pick just a few, but for all the William Kentridge fans, Fire Walker, located just off the Queen Elizabeth Bridge, is a must-see. The 11m-high fragmented sculpture depicts a female street hawker with a burning brazier on her head.

The Newtown Precinct is home to hundreds of wooden heads, created by sculptor Americo Guambe and a team of artisans. Originally installed nearly two decades ago, then refurbished in 2018, the artworks were created using repurposed railway sleepers and depict the diverse people who call the City of Gold home.

Drive along Bertrams Road on a sunny day and you cannot miss a glistening mosaic by inner-city artist and resident Andrew Lindsay. This eye-catching red, white and black artwork, located on a row of historic mining houses near Ellis Park Stadium, pays tribute to the 1922 miners’ strike...

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