I found myself hot and bothered last Friday in Cape Town's City gardens.There I was on my home from a meeting with a friend sort of wandering simultaneously trying to take in nature's greenery. On along I hastily made my way when this massive building so majestic and bold in structure grabbed my attention.And so because I suffer from an acute chronic boredom syndrome for which the only cure is new adventures ,I decided to go take a closer look. At the entry way of this building I discover that it is none other than the Iziko Art Museum .Intrigued I now needed to get inside so I got my little ticket at the front desk ,swung open the two massive glass doors of this old world style building.Whoa Nelly !I gulped for a bit of air, greeted by this out sized sculpture of what looked like a giant scarecrow.(A scarecrow with a tribal head dress no less which also looked about ready to jump to life and do some kind of rain dance.........) oh so awesome,my heart fluttered a whirlwind of butterflies .It was like stepping into a gigantic display window.Fashion being my first love this was a treat!On the other side of this hall of a room two mannequins stood draped in dresses(I have to add, very wearable -couture)made from a fine African cloth..Another two was dressed in an almost smart alternative to edgy street wear,made from African print fabric.The outfit that really had me plugged in was a waistcoat and trousers constructed entirely of multi-coloured ties...yes you heard me right ties I said.Now that's innovation in funky dressing.The young designers obviously took inspiration from African heritage and culture but what stood out for me was their combination of craft -manship,creativity and style.This exhibition just highlighted what I already mostly insist on and that is that South Africa is really a country so rich and resourcefully abundant.Is it then any suprise that this particular exhibition is so appropiately called, Imagining Beauty?
In an effort to remove myself out of the fashion zone to furthermore explore the rest of the museum,I moved into the next room .A certain Roger Ballen's exhibit of black and white photographs had me giggle ,gawk and even shrivel with shock.A disturbing view of the detriment which is poverty on particular 'white' communities ,'dorps' in the Transvaal area as a result of complete and utter social ruin.Simply entitled Boarding house this exhibition evokes strong emotion,in me, a deep empathy for the people struggling in and under poverty stricken conditions.
Furthermore the museum houses the works of a few other prolific artists' work some of which makes very relevant comments about society,politics and life in general.Ofcourse I singled out one piece let's say my favourite,a huge wall hanging made out of thousands of tin bottle caps. From a distance it shimmers like gold thread rug worthy of a kings castle when really it is the ordinary transformed into a rare work of art.
When I eventually leave the museum breathless in the wake that is the power of artistic expression a thought forms itself in my head and spirit.......'Africa's South Africa ,set against the infinite landscape of the world,
is a place not only of wonder but of profound value.