Lady Skollie, A Bunch, 2020.
Lady Skollie, A Bunch, 2020.
Image: Supplied

FNB Art Joburg has announced Open City, in place of its long-running physical showcase of contemporary African art, which — for the second year running — will be online. This dynamic long-weekend of art, gallery programmes and culture will take place from October 28-31. An online fair will run in parallel.

Modelled in the image of international fairs, Open City will take place in Parkhurst, Parktown North and Rosebank; giving it a uniquely Joburg spring flavour. Numerous pop-ups, restaurant experiences, bars and galleries are participating exclusively for the showcase. Gallery hopping, supplemented by the reawakening of the cultural and lifestyle hubs of the city, are open to the public and the majority are free. This is an incredible way to mark the resumption of the dynamic and rich environment of the City of Gold, a return to a better normal and the opportunity to experience and support the industries which have suffered most in the pandemic.

FNB Art Joburg founding director Mandla Sibeko says: “While we are saddened not to meet at the Sandton Convention Centre for the second year in a row, the FNB Art Joburg team has been focused on what we are able to do, and how we can safely manage. Open City is our response to the current conditions; mobilising all culture players, artists and gallerists to reimagine an open city of Joburg after such a difficult few months.”

Mandla Sibeko.
Mandla Sibeko.
Image: Darryn Gwyn

The online fair will run simultaneously and is open to the public alongside the 11th year of the prestigious FNB Art Prize. Cape Town based artist, Laura Windvogel, known as Lady Skollie, won the 2020 prize, winning an international residency, a cash prize and an exclusive exhibit in the 2021 fair.

“As someone who never fit in, someone who dropped out of art school, someone who only got SA representation at the age of 31, winning a local art prize makes me feel like my existence in it is validated,” says Lady Skollie.

The Open City weekend stands to showcase the powerhouse of Joburg as a destination for food, culture and art.

2020’s online fair featured many well known SA galleries such as Everard Read, Goodman Gallery and Gallery Momo alongside Harare’s First Floor Gallery, London’s October Gallery and Jahmek Contemporary Art from Luanda. Galleries in the main section used augmented reality to supplement their traditional online presentation — allowing users to “project” the artworks onto their own home’s walls — in real time and true to scale. This innovation and empathy towards our lockdown-lethargy will definitely have some tricks in store for us this year.

Further details on Open City special pop up exhibitions, gallery activations and partnerships, as well as FNB Art Joburg online 2021 exhibitor list to be announced later in September.

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