‘Tea at Anstey’s’ is the sixth book in the series, ‘Wake Up, This is Joburg’. It is a story about an iconic building in the Johannesburg inner city that is emblematic of the many, radical transformations of the city over the last two decades.
Anstey’s, once the tallest residential building in Africa, remains the pinnacle of art deco architecture in Johannesburg. It has seen the various transformations of the inner city: from a fashionable and abundant (and segregated) era of glamorous shop fronts and teahouses, through tense periods of shabbiness and decay, to heady times of mixed cultural influences. Now, while Anstey’s is still subject to the pressures of flux in the city, the uniquely mixed community that resides in the building offers a bright possible future. Artists, families of modest means, tailors, photographers, sculptors, trade unionists and street traders live alongside one another here. They form communities within a community, which has as much to do with the benefits of living in a residential art deco gem as it does with the accidents of history that have enabled people from different walks of life and incomes to co-habit. The anecdotes, the memories, the views, the objects and the connections that make this so much more than just ‘home’ in the inner city are to be found in the lifts, the lobbies and the private spaces of this grand old building.
The ‘Wake Up, This is Joburg’ series has attracted a lot of local and international interest and attention. Tanya Zack has presented the work at academic conferences in Johannesburg, Paris and Venice, and Mark Lewis’s photographs are featured in the South African Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The books have also been shown at the Brighton and Athens Photo-Book Fairs.
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