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Culture and Safety in Africa

Hillbrow Wayfinding Artwork

Name of Artwork
Hillbrow Wayfinding Artwork

Location and Accessibility
At the intersection of Catherine and Pretoria Streets in Hillbrow/Berea. Precautions should be taken in walking/driving through this part of Berea.

Level of Significance
Significant Individual Artwork

About the Artwork
The artwork was developed out of a collaboration between artist Ilse Pahl and 5 young artists from Artist Proof Studio, an arts development organization located at the Bus Factory in Newtown. The five students – Vulani Shongwe, Mongezi Ncaphayi, Charles Morwape, Shime Senetla, Jabu Tshuma – undertook research into the local community that informed the concept and design for the artwork. The work consists of six tiers, echoing the stories of the apartment buildings in the area. Each level takes the form of a silhouette portrait, which in turn frame iconic images of difrferent kinds of people within each layer, the work seeking to collectively capture the historical and contemporary identities and multi-cultural diversity of the neighbourhood.

The vertical orientation of the piece seeks to capture the spirit of aspiration that fundamentally underpins Hillbrow and Berea – the aspirations of people from all over the country and the continent coming to this neighbourhood in search of opportunity and a route to a better life. Maps are subtly incorporated into the background, overlaid by dotted lines and arrows, indicating the ongoing movement of people from across the continent into and out of this part of the inner city.

About the Location
The work is located at the intersection of two of the Main streets in Hillbrow, Pretoria and Catherine Streets. The two form a nexus between a strip of apartment buildings running down Catherine street, and the bustling retail of Pretoria street.