Monday September 10
Weekly Public Eye committee meeting: our next project is a collaboration with Dutch curators Cell. 'Homeport' is taking place in six port cities across the world - Rotterdam, Shanghai, Havana, Mumbai and Jakarta. 'Homeport', say the curators, "is like a sea voyage past six harbour cities located on different continents. The destination of the journey is an investigation into the exceptional qualities of each of these harbour cities by means of a programme of culture and art." (See the website at http://cell.nl/homeport.) Public Eye has invited a number of artists to work with text and to select a site in the Waterfront and harbour area, and tonight some of them, including Alan Alborough, Jean Brundrit, James Webb and Barend de Wet, present their proposals. The next stage will be liaising with the harbour authorities to secure the sites. 'Homeport' will open on December 5.
Tuesday September 11
The news from New York comes through on the studio radio mid-afternoon, and the rest of the day and night is spent watching the horrific events unfold on CNN.
Wednesday September 12
Emails and phone calls describing personal experiences start to trickle in. Work is impossible.
Friday September 14
Not really in party mood, but Estelle Jacobs, the vibrant and hardworking director of Cape Town's Association for Visual Arts, has issued birthday invitations. Zwelethu Mthethwa is there - he's not often home in Cape Town these days. Pro Sobopha, Kevin Brand, Arlene Amaler Raviv, Dale Yudelman and Paul Edmunds are all on hand to wish the best to one of the most popular of the city's art personalities.
Monday September 17
Back up to Johannesburg to do some more work on the Joubert Park Project. This most admirable initiative, spearheaded by Bie Venter and Dorothee Kreutzveldt, seeks to breathe new life into the moribund Johannesburg Art Gallery, hermetically sealed against the inner-city people of Joubert Park, where it is located. The Joubert Park Project invites artists to make work which involves the larger community in a whole programme of multi-disciplinary creative activities, culminating in an opening day, which will be October 13, on which an exhibition in the gallery space itself will open. Over 30 local and international artists will be taking part this year.
My project is an extension of the 'From the Inside' series, in which people living with HIV/AIDS are invited to make a statement on their situation which is painted up on to a public wall somewhere. Photographs of the walls and the people will be projected inside the gallery as part of the exhibition, but the really important part of the project is the effect of the messages, which always carry the name of the speaker, on the community. It is hoped to make the entire subject more open in this way.
Tuesday September 18<
Spend the morning painting messages onto walls bordering on Johannesburg's major highways, and in the afternoon go with assistant Colleen Alborough to the township of Daveyton, where we meet a group we have been working with. Take three more portraits, and working with Johannes Bukholi and Nosisa Ndlela, paint messages on walls.
Wednesday September 19
Two more interview and portrait sessions today, and it's back on the plane for Cape Town.
Thursday September 20
Veteran photographer Omar Badsha opens at the South African National Gallery tonight, with a major retrospective of his work entitled 'Narratives: Rituals and Graven Images', a good, all-inclusive title which allows Badsha to show a wide range of the work which has occupied him for his long working life (see listings). Here on the walls, framed by Badsha's unerring eye, is a parade of some of the best known struggle images of political leaders, rallies and meetings, photographs of Indian temples and statuary, and a range of personal and beautiful family portraits, such as Great Grandmother with Farzanah. The exhibition is opened by Madiba's ex-aide, Jakes Gerwel.