Terhys Persad is the creator of Where Art Thou a travel show about art. The first season which takes place in South Africa takes us through Johannesburg and Cape Town, through the perspective of both cities creative community.
Where do you come from originally and where you call home now? I was born on St. Thomas, USVI, a tiny island in the Caribbean. My family came to the States when I was small, and I grew up in Florida, where I currently live.
Where did the concept for the Where Art Thou web series come from? Why did you decide on a show that intersects art and travel? In 2014, I quit my job and decided to travel with the money I had saved. Before I left, I had the idea that a travel show about art would be cool. I love art and I was traveling solo, which meant I spent a ton of time in art museums and galleries.
To my surprise, I learned more about the country from those visits than from tours or guidebooks. I saw just how good contemporary art is for learning about a country, and I started seriously thinking about a show that used art as a learning tool.
Can you tell us more about each episode, specifically the artists and what spaces you explored with them? Our first episode featured the dynamic Buhlebezwe Siwani, and talked about the co-existence of tradition and contemporary life.
The second episode, features the Jozi based duo behind The Honey, Rendani Nemakhavhani and Kgomotso Tleane Neto. We talk about re-defining the image of Blackness and township life.
Future artists include Dean Hutton, Lungiswa Gqunta, Thania Petersen, Rory Emmett, Nardstar, Fluer de Bondt and Audrey Anderson. The episodes will cover #FMF, Coloured identity, white supremacy, nature in city spaces, and gentrification.
Outside of the ones featured in your series, what are some of your favourite creative destinations? Auckland, New Zealand has some Pacific Islander and Maori artists doing some really dope work, which you’ll see in a future season of the show. One of my favorites is Pati Solomon Tyrell, whose work focuses on queerness and Pasifika identity.
What are some of your most memorable “off the beaten track” places that have stayed with you throughout your travels? In Cape Town, my friends took me on the Skeleton Gorge hike that ended with a swim in the dam on top. I am not a seasoned hiker, and I thought I was going to die the whole time — so I felt levels of bliss when we finally made it to the top and there was this surreal mountaintop beach with cool, red water to swim in. It was one of the best days of my life.
Outside of SA, I spent some time on a really tiny island called Koh Sri Boya in Thailand. It’s lovely, but not as pretty as the famous Thai islands and it’s hard to get to, which means it doesn’t attract as many visitors. But over the course of 20 years, it has managed to become a second home for a bunch of foreigners who are extremely quirky.
What are your travel essentials? Earplugs, a hoodie, and my kindle.
Who is currently playing on your travel playlist? Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino and Anderson Paak's album Malibu. I also love podcasts like The Read, Another Round, and Sound Africa.