Urban Gaze Walk

  • GCRO
  • Date of publication: 02 April 2019

On Saturday, 16 March, the Urban Gaze Documentary Photo Competition and Friends of the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) jointly hosted two photowalks in Johannesburg and Pretoria simultaneously, with a view to exploring inner cityscapes and generating material that could be submitted to the Urban Gaze Competition. The walks took place from the Gautrain Park Station to the Johannesburg Art Gallery and back, and from the Pretoria Gautrain Station to the South African State Theatre and back. On the day, around twenty people including local photographers from the Joubert Park area, met up at the main entrance of the Gautrain Station and proceeded to the Johannesburg Art Gallery. The walkers were given a site tour from the Johannesburg Art Gallery’s education officer, Colin Groenewald, and then explored the exhibition ‘All Your Faves Are Problematic’.

Sandiswa Sondzaba of the GCRO explains that the events were promoted through the GCRO’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages, and through the Friends of JAG network. In Johannesburg, posters were distributed in the area of the walks as well as through the WITS art and journalism departments and the UJ Faculty of Art Design and Architecture (FADA).

“We also approached the ReimagiNation Foundation, which aims to improve access to music, art, design and drama education for those who do not have ready access to those activities,” says Sondzaba. “The highlight of the event was being able to see kids from the inner city exploring their area through a different lens, using their cameras to identify particular visual highlights from their neighbourhood.”

Thobile Chittenden, Executive Director of the ReimagiNation Foundation, says that the organisation helped to share awareness of the walk through its social media stories as well as by inviting learners who are part of the MADDD (Music, Art, Drama, Dance and Design) Activists programme. “Our learners received disposable cameras to use along the tour, which helped them to notice new things and engage with their city. The learners, who live in the area, learned a lot about the city and the tour opened up their minds and their eyes to the history and culture that is on their doorstep.”

The Urban Gaze Documentary Photo Competition, run by the GCRO, is open to all residents of the Gauteng City-Region who are over the age of 18. The intention is to offer a platform for emerging photographers and to create a database of images to use in the GCRO’s research publications and online platforms. Shortlisted entries will be exhibited at the Mesh Art Gallery in the Keyes Art Mile Precinct in Rosebank, and the winners will share prizes up to the value of R100,000.

Judges for the competition are:

Potsiso Phasha (Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Gauteng Provincial Government)

Lucy MacGarry (Keyes Art Mile)

Antoine De Ras (Photographer)

Bongani Khoza (UJ FADA)

Dinesh Balliah (Wits Journalism Department)

Sandiswa Sondzaba (GCRO)

More information on the competition can be found on https://www.urbangaze.org/.

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