#FirstThursday – Late evening opening 7th July

Liz’s Pick of the Week is the exhibition  at Wits Art Museum of Jack Ginsberg’s collection of some 700 Battiss’ 07 3 July Battiss WAM photo
artworks and related material. This promises to be a great exhibition. It opened last night 5th July and runs until 9th October.  And while at Wits you can pop down to Origins Museum and see the related Battis exhibition – his rock art work.

It’s #FirstThursday tomorrow 7th July when many of the art galleries stay open late – both in Braamfontein and along the Rosebank Art Mile.  First Thursdays started as a Cape Town initiative and is gradually taking off in Joburg.  But take extra care walking between galleries in Braamfontein – there was a report of a mugging at last month’s #First Thursday. Hopefully the  Braamfontein Business Precinct will take note and will have provide extra security.

Showing at Stevenson Gallery in Juta St is the Standard Bank’s 2015 Young Artist’s Award Winner, Kemang Wa Lehulere.  He has also been named the 2017 Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year, and has a solo exhibition opening at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin, in March.  Tellingly he says that his work has been received better internationally than in South Africa. In his paintings, drawings and sculptures, he transforms and morphs forms into different objects which then becoming free floating signifiers of meaning, de-linked from their original context. The exhibition runs until 15th July.

Chrysler Building 2015  Image courtesy Mpho Mokgadi

Chrysler Building 2015
Image courtesy Mpho Mokgadi



Showing at Room (also Juta St) until 30 July is Mpho Mokgadi’s In Situ.  This body of work consists of medium format architectural portraits of several key buildings and well-known landmarks in Joburg’s inner city. Deliberately empty of human figures there’s a pristine surreal quality to these emblems of power.This exhibition runs until 30th July.

Moving further north to Rosebank – Goodman Gallery‘s 50th Anniversary exhibition closes on 9th July.  Several of the the stalwart avant-garde artists have works on display in this tribute to Goodman’s development of a stable of critically aware and engaged artists, many of whom like Kentridge, have achieved international recognition.



PennOne of my favourite artists is showing her work at David Krut. In Clouds of Unknowing,  Robyn Penn juxtaposes images of clouds with portraits of climate-change dissidents to critique and comment on the climate change issue.

At nearby David Krut Project, there’s an exhibition which introduces a Wakponreally interesting concept: here visitors can download an app on their smart phone which enables them to view, with auditory commentary, the works of  10 contemporary artists in the collection of the  Zinsou Foundation for Modern Art in Qidah in Benin.  How cool is that? This exhibition opens on 7th for #FirstThursday and runs until 1st August.    ‘Wakpon’ means ‘come and see’ in Fon, the most widely spoken local language in Benin.

Lizamore openingAt Lizamore & Associates there are two solo exhibitions by Cape Town based artists: Orda716 by Kilmany-Jo Liversage and Attachments and Separation by Uwe Pfaff. I know of neither of these artists so look forward to seeing their work.

MAcGArryMichael McGarry’s exhibition Between Rot and Genesis opens on Thursday 7th at Everard Read Gallery until 30th July.  Michael MacGarry is a multi-award winning filmmaker and visual artist and (mea culpa), I have always found his work quite inaccessible. I am not sure the gallery blurb is any more enlightening  so will be interested to see what this exhibition offers.

At Circa on Jellicoe Blessing Ngobeni The song of the Chicotte  also opens on Thursday night. The chicotte is known as the sjambok in South Africa and Ngobeni uses the chicotte as ‘a metaphor for slavery in general – not just historical slavery but slavery of the mind, the spirit – in the country, our relationships, ourselves. We brutalise ourselves and each other, and perpetuate the patterns that we have inherited: the sins of the fathers are, more often than not, still being visited on their children.  …. In place of these old patterns, Ngobeni urges us towards a new vision of the world – one “not ruled by the hyenas of old, who wear different guises and inflict the same punishments”.’ (Gallery Website)

Down the road at Gallery Momo until 18th July is a fascinating exhibition of Congoleses artist Maurice Mbikya‘s works. Entitled Mupia-Mupia which is a Luba word meaning ‘new and shiny’, Mbikya foregrounds the importance of the role of clothing Mbikayain Congolese society as a signifier of status, identity and calling attention. In virtual space people construct digital identities and it is this interface between the aesthetics of fashion and the politics of digital identities that Mbikya examines. The artist used obsolete technological parts, specifically computer pieces as a source material, and reshapes these into fashion items.

So – there is plenty to choose from this #firstThursday.

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Top 3% ! Thank you team Liz at Lancaster!

We have just received the following in an email from hotelscombined.com:

Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse has just been awarded the HotelsCombined Recognition of Excellence for 2016!

This award is in recognition for consistently achieving the highest standards of Customer Satisfaction worldwide. We know this because the team here at HotelsCombined undertook the largest analysis of customer opinions online across millions of points of data. We now have a complete and comprehensive understanding of over one million hotels worldwide, taking our team of data experts months to finalize.

From left to right: Thandie, Rose, Tagala, Liz, Alick and Catherine

From left to right: Thandie, Rose, Tagala, Liz, Alick and Catherine

Specifically to date, we found and processed 256 opinions that your guests have posted on a variety of different websites, forums and social media, resulting in an incredible score of 9.85 out of a possible 10.

You are now representing the top 3% of accommodation worldwide for Customer Satisfaction.

It is a huge honour to have received this award. However, while we would not go as far as Mark Twain who said ‘ There’s lies, damned lies and statistics’,  we are a little cautious of the claim of being in the top 3% worldwide!  But we accept the positive feedback and recognition gratefully, and commit to continuing to provide excellent service going forward.

Thanks to team Liz at Lancaster: Tagala Mlalazi (aka Mr T), Catherine Mahlangu, Thandie Makamo, Rose Mpofu and Alick Ncube.  Without all of you (and Liz!) this would not have been possible. And of course to the most important people of all – our guests.  A huge thank you to all of you for your ongoing loyalty and support.

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Exciting developments in Jozi Inner City: No One Eloff St

Last week’s Pick of the Week was  the  week-end Pop-Up market at Joziburg Lane.  Heeding my own

Joziburg Lane food market from mezzanine level

Looking down on the Joziburg Lane food market from the mezzanine level

suggestion, on Saturday I met up with a friend who’s always up for a bit of exploring and off we went to No One Eloff (cnr Wemmer Jubilee). Gerald Garner of Joburg Places fame, and the initial developer of The Sheds at 1 Fox St, has rented a large ground floor space at No One Eloff Street.  Recently painted in an unmissable eye-catching yellow and blue, No One Eloff Street is a large building which used to be a massive parking garage. Bought by the property developers Molten Black early last year, http://www.moltenblack.com , it is in the process of being turned into a major residential and retail hub. While the residential part of the project is close to completion (more of that below), the food market is still very much in its early undeveloped phase and is only due to open properly in August. However we got a feel for what Joziburg Lane will offer as it becomes a more permanent fixture. The formula is much the same as The Sheds at 1 Fox:  various shops and stalls, different food and drink options, live music and with a fabulous north-facing mezzanine deck where you can check out the market space below as well as look over a different view of Jozi’s  urbanscape. Joziburg Lane gets its name from the alleyway adjacent to the main building which culminates in the foodhall/market/events space seen in the photo above.  To show you how fast things happen in Joburg, check the photos on 2 Summers’ blog post written on 8 April 2016 where the ground floor space of Joziburg Lane is an empty shell! http://2summers.net/2016/04/08/big-news-about-joburgs-newest-inner-city-development/

1 Eloff st

Temporary sculpture exhibition in one of the central courtyards. The courtyard is surrounded by 2 floors of apartments.

After chilling on the sun-soaked deck over a beer shandy and a samoosa, we went in search of the sculpture exhibition advertised as being in one of the courtyards of the building. Off we set not quite sure of where we were going but following the typed signs saying ‘Sculpture exhibition This Way -> Opens at 2 pm’.  Up stairs, through heavy metal swing doors, across parking garage ramps, over a fair bit of building rubble, into smart face-brick corridors lined with freshly painted and brightly-coloured and numbered doors, we eventually emerged into a spacious inner courtyard where the sculptures were on display. (I loved Guy du Toit’s humorous hat on a plastic chair – all cast in bronze).  Wanting to find out more about the living spaces facing onto the courtyard, we tried to access them from an inside corridor.  We met a young man emerging from one of the apartments who very graciously showed us inside his living space – a downstairs area with kitchen, bathroom, tiny living area, with 2 open mezzanine loft sleeping areas built in the double volume space.  We later tagged onto a group being shown around by Geoff Jardine of Molten Black and saw another as yet unoccupied apartment.

1 Eloff St apartment

Looking down on the kitchen area and bathroom across to the 2nd mezzanine sleeping section. A small living area below faces the kitchen

Work started last April to convert the empty inner shell of this huge parking garage into 320 loft style apartments, offices, artists’ studios and retails spaces.  The flats (with a starting rental of R3500 a month) are arranged in circular formations with windows either facing out to the street or onto large internal courtyards. Each circle of apartments is colour coded : green, yellow, red, purple or blue. All materials – windows, beams, balustrades, trunking and metal fittings, doors, doors numbers, etc.  were custom-made in Molten Black’s own workshop and work started in April 2015 and has continued every day 7 days a week since. Currently about two thirds of the apartments are occupied with around 40 tenants a month signing up and moving in.   There are one and  two ‘bed-roomed apartments’ with a couple of slightly larger units.

1 Eloff St

First tenants moved in a month ago and with 40 sign-ups a month there is always somebody moving in

Of course there will be long term issues around safety and security, building maintenance and overcrowding but if the residents are committed and involved and set up a residents’ committee, there are huge opportunities for a vibrant community with safe housing close to work, transport, shopping and leisure hubs. (The Faraday taxi rank is across the road on the south side.)

View across Jozi from 1 Eloff St

View north across Jozi from One Eloff St

There are so many markets and food halls in various regenerated urban industrial spaces in inner city Jozi: Neighbourgoods in Braamfontein on Saturdays, Market on Main in Maboneng on Sundays, The Sheds @ 1Fox, that there is perhaps the danger of an over-supply. But with the residential component of 1 Eloff, the proximity to Faraday taxi rank and the increasing number of residential developments in the inner city, there is also an ever increasing demand for convenient shopping and leisure hubs. So maybe wait a couple to months to allow for an increase in food stalls and product choice, and then take a trip to Jozburg Lane for a chilled weekend meal and to get a sense of 1 Eloff and see yet another example of creative vision and entrepreneurship which is providing much needed centrally- located residential accommodation and bringing Jozi inner city back to life.

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