The Social Life of Waste-Art Project

Posted on September 01, 2016

The Social Life of Waste-Art (SLOWart) project is a collaboration between the Capital Cities Institutional Research Theme in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria (UP), and a group of artists, writers, facilitators and researchers based in southern Africa who work on, with, around and in waste or discarded materials. It is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation in Southern Africa. In an effort to educate the public and motivate them to take personal action in local and global conservation efforts, SLOWart has produced a series of exhibitions to highlight regional environmental issues through the universal language of art.

On Thursday, 1 September 2016, the first Thursday of the Art Week Joburg festival, SLOWart will present a pop-up exhibition at the Museum of African Design in Maboneng, Johannesburg. The exhibition will feature works by Zimbabwean waste artist Johnson Zuze, as well as video art by Dr Myer Taub, from the Department of Drama at UP, and South African performance artist, sculptor, and filmmaker Francois Knoetze.

Art Week Joburg is a week-long festival that brings together art lovers in the city's art spaces, galleries, project spaces, arts organisations, museums and training institutions. SLOWart will be hosting a number of activities including a gallery exhibition of works made from recycled material (with an opportunity to interact with the artists), a waste-food cooking performance, a pinhole camera workshop and the making of musical instruments from recycled materials.

The 'Not wasting point blank' exhibition will open at 14:00 on Sunday, 4 September, at the Point Blank Gallery in the Drill Hall Precinct, and will feature works by artists from across southern Africa. This exhibition, curated by Keneilwe Mokoena, invites the general public to see an art collection that focusses exclusively on art and design made from recycled waste materials. Trackside's After School Project will also provide children with the opportunity to play with and make toys and musical instruments from waste or discarded objects. Pretoria Street Photography will also conduct a workshop to teach participants how to build a pinhole camera out of discarded objects. The workshop will include both theoretical and practical presentations, one of which is on working with a temporary, mobile camera obscura that doubles as a darkroom. Photos taken with the pinhole cameras made during the workshop will be developed and exhibited.

Entry to all the SLOWart exhibitions and events during the Joburg Art Week is free. For more information please visit  


- Author Ansa Heyl

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