#Youngcreatives: Self Exploration Through Photographic Expression

12th September 2018.

Artistic expression comes forth in many forms, be it through dancing, singing, writing and drawing – it lives and its breathes. Cape Town has become renowned for its artistic expression through up and coming artists who express themselves through their art work, exploring narratives behind it.
Photography is one such art form which does just that. It changes the way in which you view reality and the things you may overlook. It expresses sadness, joy, beauty and depth through a focused lens.

In early August, Earl Abrahams and Wandie Mesatywa, second residency photographers of Amplify Studio in Cape Town were featured in a residency photographic exhibition titled, My Identity which explored these young, talented South African photographer’s identities.

Abrahams’ project, Coloured In, explored spatial and racial segregation passed on through the Group Areas Act under the Apartheid Regime, which gave way to exploration of his identity and community.
Mesatywa’s project, Iqhiya captured the beauty of Iqhiya, also known as the doek or head wrap, declaring her pride in being a Xhosa woman.

Here, Abrahams and Mesatywa share with us what the project meant to them, their love of photography and their plans moving forward.

 

Can you tell us more about what this project meant to you as an individual?

Abrahams: My project ‘Coloured In’ was a deeply personal and explorative one that forced me to confront myself and my identity as a so called ‘coloured man’. It steered me into a reflective space, forcing me to ask really hard questions about my community, people, space and current state of the City in which I had lived for so long.

     

Photography by Earl Abrahams.

 

My project allowed me to pause for a moment, to tackle issues in my head and heart – and I feel that ‘Coloured In’ has given me the foundations to continue creating…

Mesatywa: The project meant I had to open up to strangers and people I already know. And that was hard for me. I am a private person and I like my own space. This project opened room for people to interrogate me, my beliefs, and the culture I was born into. It has certainly brought me closer to my inner self…

 

In which ways has the project amplified your own identity?

Abrahams: It has amplified my own identity through granting me clarity of understanding of my own views and the views of those around me in relation to our community spaces and their challenges. The understanding of how complex and increasingly involved it would be to dismantle the inculcated systems that still reign within society today.

Mesatywa: I wouldn’t say amplified but it made me more aware of how further away I am to my true identity as a Xhosa speaking person. In relation to and with my culture. So the venture to self-exploration continues until my identity is amplified:).

 

What has it meant to you to be a part of the Amply Studio’s residency photographic exhibition?

Abrahams: It has truly been an honour to be a part of the Amplify residency programme/exhibition. This programme has given me the opportunity to develop as an artist and has given me a clearer focus of my future artistic endeavours.

Mesatywa: It meant breaking boundaries in the industry of art as a professional and recent graduate. As well as not conforming to expectations but realising the true potential of what I could achieve as an artist and a black young woman.

 

Photography by Wandie Mesatywa.

 

Has photography always been a passion of yours? What is it about this art form that you love?

Abrahams: Inline skating was always my first love/passion (and I’ve been inline skating for more than 20 years). I got introduced to photography through inline skating and I generally only use to engage with it in that space. It is only within the last four years that I decided to venture out of the confines of the inline skating world and develop a new found love and passion for the story telling prowess that photography gives me access to.

What I love about this art form is that it allows me the freedom to share my worldview with others – I also love the diversity that photography offers – whether it be street, wildlife, fashion, conceptual photography – this art form has room for anyone and everyone.

Mesatywa: It is hard to say that it has always been a passion of mine, as it was a strange finding – when I realised it was something I loved, it was more of the freedom it gave me and satisfaction that I fell in love with. Only later I started appreciating and loving the artistic side of it.

 

What are your plans moving forward? Are there any other projects and/ or exhibitions that you’re currently involved in/ planning?

Abrahams: I’ve recently relocated up to Johannesburg, so I plan to showcase the work in Jozi before the end of the year. I also have a part two of Coloured In that I have started working on and will hopefully be showcasing this body of work sometime next year. I’ve also started a new video series called TALK which showcases various individuals in the creative and other industries.

Mesatywa: I plan on producing more work around the same theme of identity. I am also involved in a group exhibition We Cannot Be Silent, which is currently showing at the Castle of Good Hope until 24 September. I am also part of a group show launching in September at Everard Read Gallery at the V&A Waterfront, as well as another group show in Hamburg, Germany also launching in September.

 

Do you have any message for those exploring their own artistic creativity or expression?

Abrahams: Believe in yourself and your abilities – start your own projects, even if you don’t have everything mapped out yet. You’ll be amazed at how a concept can lead you to other opportunities. Most importantly, tell your story – it’s those stories that have the ability to shift perspectives and help others to believe in themselves.

Mesatywa: Staying true to who you are is what adds depth and authenticity to one’s creativity. Therefore, I would say never lose touch with who you.

Abrahams and Mesatywa’s photography exhibits at Amplify Studios until the end of September.

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CEO’S Spring Message: Heritage & Tourism Month

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On 22/23 September, the Southern Hemisphere officially heralds Spring. In geographical terms, Spring is the time of equinox which means the day and night is of the same length!  In the Cape, it is the season of magic and wonder!

Well, as South Africans, we make the most of the most beautiful season of the year. September is Tourism and Heritage Month, and South Africans also celebrate a host of other nature- and societal days during this time of rejuvenation, revival, growth, and hope.

The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day is “Tourism and jobs – a better future for all” whilst heritage month’s is: “Celebrating South Africa’s literary classics in the year of indigenous languages”.  What better place to celebrate both months at South Africa’s oldest surviving building – the 352-year old Castle of Good Hope.  Access to the Castle if free on the 24th of September 2019.  Come with your family, friends and picnic baskets – and remember the flat shoes!

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The Gardens to the left of the main entrance of the Castle.

Ode To The Most Beautiful Season

There is something so sublime about an African Spring that it is simply not possible to capture it graphically. But let me give it a try to describe what we experience at the Castle these days:

Spring seems to put a spring in every creature’s step; the Castle of Good Hope and surrounding a case in point. In the Castle moat, which is fed from the Camissa River in Table Mountain, the flock of black cormorants give the fish a hard time. Their feeding frenzy seems like a strategy to make up for the long, hard winter behind them. The wily old Night Heron with his long neck is trying hard to out-fish them but fails to match their angling skills. The coots glide over the fallen leaves from the papyrus plants on the dam; scooping up the abundant insects and other tiny morsels and preparing for the new chicklets’ arrival.

The happy chirps of the mating weavers, sparrows and starling are only drowned out by the shrill screams of the assertive hadedas and peckish gulls.  The awakening of every bloom and leaf the perfect canvas for these unfolding theatrics.

But it is the majestic Egyptian goose that rules the Castle. We are eagerly anticipating their colonisation of our lawns with their large batches of tweeting goslings! And not even the lone Castle barn-owl or stray cat would dare to come close to their brood.

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Bees in the Aloe flowers,
Restitution Garden,
top of Leerdam.
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Night Heron relaxing on one
of the steel cages protecting
young fish in the Moat.

Season Highlights: Major Events

Now back to Heritage and Tourism Months.  Besides the complimentary tours, firing of a real cannon, four museums, exhibitions, expect a bevy of events, festivities, gathering and celebrations for the rest of Spring.  For our tourists, we have just re-instituted the Ghost Tours, sleep-outs and much more.

These are some of the cultural, lifestyle and heritage events we are proudly hosting over the next couple of weeks:

  • Integrated Conservation Management Plan Stakeholder Meeting, 1 October 2019
  • Justice for Imam Haron outdoor exhibition, October/November 2019
  • Big League 3rd Anniversary Concert, 5 October 2019
  • Ceramics SA Exhibition, 7 – 10 October 2019
  • Open Design Africa, 18 – 22 October 2019
  • Unathi Msengana’s Picnic Concert, 19 October 2019
  • Kings of the Castle Boxing Tournament, 26 October 2019
  • Secret Sunset Event, 31 October 2019
  • Doek on Fleek Outdoor Picnic, 2 November 2019
  • Infecting the City, 23-24 November 2019
  • Harley Davidson Lifestyle Centre, 30 November to 1 December 2019

Disclaimer: Information is correct as on 23 September 2019. Patrons are kindly requested to verify events details and changes on our website or from the organisers.

Best Regards

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Latest Events

To see the latest upcoming events at the Castle of Good Hope, click on a day or the month title to display the event(s).

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Key Ceremony

TIMES
10:00|12:00 

This showcases the unlocking of the Van der Stel entrance of the Castle of Good Hope by the ceremonial guards of the castle. It is a past practice that is still practised today.

Canon Firing

TIMES
10:00|11:00|12:00 

The firing of the signal cannon was used to indicate that a ship had been sighted at sea and to relay the message to people inside the fort. You can view the firing of an old cannon, performed by the Cannon Association of South Africa.

Guided Tours

TIMES
11:00|12:00|14:00|15:00|16:00 

Unearth the hidden history of the Castle with a guided tour led by an experienced guide. Tours operate seven days a week.

 

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