It’s been an interesting year and I haven’t documented any of it (here). So consider this a nutshell version of 2016 so far.
In February, I began volunteering for a campaign called Reclaim the City which has spatial justice in Cape Town as its central motive. The campaign is spearheaded by an organisation called Ndifuna Ukwazi, and it is bringing together people who recognise the need to discuss and protest how inner city sites owned by the City Council and Province are being developed, who that development is for, and how the government is working to solve a lack of affordable housing and the segregation still entrenched by apartheid spatial planning.
Disputes in South Africa around race and privilege often reach a stalemate with ‘well when the land has been returned, we can discuss things further’. No other issue seems to raise white people’s hackles as quickly; it is the topic that brings forth primal and survival emotional responses; fear and defensiveness intercept further engagement (shut down the openness required) and cloud people’s ability to see what justice, or possible solutions in the name of justice, would look like. I’m exploring the land issue from multiple points of entry, feeling my way through it as I go.
I have also found myself on the steering committee for a new organisation called The Constantia Heritage and Education Project. The project began as a call for former residents of Constantia, who were forcibly removed during Apartheid, to get together and provide a space of connection for shared stories. It has held numerous community meetings thus far and aims to establish a structured record of oral histories and become a portal for lost information. Having grown up in the leafy suburb of Constantia, this is an important area of discovery for me (to understand land and heritage dispossession in my own area) and I am on the committee to facilitate creatively where I can, obviously whilst also knowing my place and positionality.
While this has been going on, my creative output has not been on the backburner. I’ve been making collages and paintings which relate to the things I am learning, although I’m not ready to release them yet so I’ll just show snippets of things I’ve been doing:
When you think affordable housing, what do you picture?
Other experiments in pique-assiette mosaic:
Some decor for the wedding of my friends Janna and Andy: