Christmas decorations are up at most shopping malls and they are likely to feature a traditional Father Christmas and fake snow flocking over a artificial Christmas Tree. Inspired by a vision to showcase a more authentic and African holiday season, the V&A Waterfront is doing things differently and has re-imagined the festive season this year.
The shopping mall has opted to use decorative installations as a platform to celebrate local artists and crafters.
Partnering with artists, crafters and makers from across South Africa and the continent, the installations used are mostly made from re-purposed and recycled waste material. The project which took months to complete involved almost 200 individuals and approximately 130 makers.
Representation from various South Africa cities such as KwaZulu Natal, Upington, Langa, Khayelitsha, Johannesburg and other African countries like Zimbabwe, Southern Zambia, Senegal, KwaZulu-Natal.
Next time you visit the mall, take your time to explore the many corridors so you can spot the beautiful installations,some hanging from the top while others are on the ground.
"We felt that it was time for us and it’s time for all of us Africans to embrace our African-ism. It never made sense why we adopt and take on a Eurocentric approach to things when there is so much beauty, creativity and meaning in African culture," says the V&A Waterfront’s Marketing Manager, Tinyiko Mageza
"We actually didn’t think about doing it differently …we are a local neighborhood and we had to start reflecting that. And also, we considered the fact that at a time like this, during Christmas when people are just buying stuff , it’s quite a opulent time of the year and there is a lot of waste;
"We needed to think about how are we creating a positive impact . We have taken a stand on sustainability and we couldn’t continue doing what we have been doing for the last 10 years;" she adds.
Installations highlights to look forward to
IBHOTWE LASEHLOTYENI – THE SUMMER PALACE
This palace celebrates all life on our beautiful continent of Africa. It features flying swallows (our annual summer visitors) and is protected by a menagerie of enchanting and curious creatures (59 in total, made by Monkey Biz) who inhabit Earth and sky. These come together to enjoy the holiday Queen Halima, Mother Earth and Luyolo, the Guardian of Joy – keeper of peace and kindness.
The planets surrounding our globe showcase the transformation of found materials into objects of art. They’re made from felt and papier mâché (with recycled paper), by the artisans of Wola Nani.
THE BASKET MOTIF
Baskets are found in many of the exhibitions as a recurring motif. They’re quintessentially African – a connecting thread across cultures and represent a sense of community. But, they’re also distinctive – many cultures have their own unique designs. The baskets come from all over Africa, with some made in Cape Town by women in Dunoon.