In November this year Oude Meester is bringing Idris Elba, the star of their latest TV commercial, back to South Africa for The Oude Meester Tour. As he travels through Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg together with South African actor Siyabonga Radebe (District 9), Elba will meet a few young masters to share some of his own journey so far and the lessons he’s learned along the way, and to discuss the idea of ‘mastery’.
With that in mind we were inspired to highlight a few of the South African creatives in the fields of art, design, music, film and fashion whose work is being noticed (and loved!) abroad, and rightfully so. Here’s to mastering your craft:
Spoek Mathambo and Lebogang Rasethaba
Nthato Mokgata, better known as Spoek Mathambo (or the self-proclaimed “prince of township tech” if you’d prefer), is a producer/singer/rapper and the lead member of electro outfit Fantasma. He got together with filmmaker and director Lebogang Rasethaba – who is currently represented by Egg Films – to co-direct a feature length documentary exploring the past, present and future of the electronic music scene and its multiple sub-genres in South Africa. Spoek and Lebogang had a simple mission: to meet up with some of their heroes, colleagues, competititors and co-conspirators…an ever-potent gang of electronic music pioneers sculpting The Future Sound of Mzansi. Met with high praise, the film has recently screened at the Durban International Film Festival, The Bioscope in Maboneng and the Stratford Picturehouse in London with upcoming screenings in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Athi-Patra Ruga is a performance artist who uses the mediums of video, textiles and animation to create a world where cultural identity is no longer determined by geographical origins, ancestry or biological disposition. He is mostly known for The Future White Woman of Azania, an ongoing performance series first conceieved in 2010, which revolves around a character that lives in the centre of 250 balloons. Also notable is his work in large scale tapestries, through which he showcases marginalized experiences through mythical characters that are at once identifiable and strange. Athi’s bold exploration of the border-zones between fashion, performance and contemporary art recently caught the attention of Louis Vuitton – the luxury brand have comissioned him to create an 4×4 metre tapestry that will go on display at their flagship Champs-Elysées store in Paris and, to coincide with this, his work will be exhibited at the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton.
Born in Port Elizabeth, Laduma Ngxokolo studied textile design and technology at NMMU and went on to establish his own knitwear brand MAXHOSA by Laduma in early 2011. His mandate is to maintain his heritage and so, heavily influenced by aspects of the Xhosa culture, Laduma’s designs reflect the structure and precision of the patterns found in traditional African beadwork. Laduma presented his first women’s line at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this year, as part of his latest collection titled Buyele’mbo. Laduma has just showcased his work in Berlin, London, New York, Paris and most recently, Oslo.
Growing up Jordan Metcalf dreamt of becoming a scientist, writer, programmer, musician, psychologist, architect – the list goes on – before deciding on a career as a graphic designer, illustrator and artist. He currently runs his studio out of a shared space in The Woodstock Exchange where his time is spent divided between doing commercial jobs for local and international clients (he’s represented by Handsome Frank in the UK) and making design based artworks. Visually, Jordan is inspired by the intersection of the man-made world and the environment – the contrast of the geometric lines and curves of architecture and typography and industrial design, with the organic controlled chaos of nature. By adding organic softness and depth to precise geometry he endeavours to bring some of these contrasts into his own work, which predominantly falls within the realm of custom lettering and typography.
Twenty-three year old Soweto-born, Johannesburg-based photographer Mack Magagane is one to watch. Since completing his studies at the Market Photo Workshop, his work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions locally and abroad and this year, he completed a residency at the Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France (CPIF) in Paris. The intensive, three month long residency program resulted in Somewhere Between Here – his fourth complete body of work to date. The series of photographs features individuals with whom Mack formed personal relationships during his stay in Paris, and the identity of ‘place’ comes into play as he draws on the sense of nostalgia that comes with being in a foreign space, all the while longing for and making reference to his home in Johannesburg.
Sibs Shongwe-La Mer
Without growing up in a ‘particularly creative’ environment, the artistic output of 22 year old Sibs Shongwe-La Mer has come to include photography, film and music. By the age of 18 he was working full time in the South African film and television industry. A year later, he began his directorial career in the production of short films and music videos, and in 2013 he produced a low-fi version of his film Territorial Pissings independently – the same year that he founded The Whitman Independent as a youth art retailer, filmhouse, gallery and publisher. This month, Sibs wrapped up shooting a reworked version of Territorial Pissings as a feature length film, together with Urucu Media and producer Elias Ribeiro.
Jana + Koos
Jana Hamman and Koos Groenewald, collectively known as Jana + Koos, are a concept design duo who specialize in building brands and creating experiences. They’ve also been known to dabble in the art world and in June this year, with the golden city as their inspiration, they presented a collection of work titled City of Gold Diggers at the Open Gallery Space in New York City. The exhibition formed part of Foreign Neighbors – an initiative headed by Nader Rajab which aims to create closer creative neighbourhoods. Jana + Koos regard Johannesburg as a “jumble of contradictions, and as a city which is still trying to figure itself out.” It is this flux that influences them daily, and forms the root of most of their personal projects. The works created for the exhibition range from a photograph of chicken feet sporting gold rings, to a banana painted gold and covered with glitter – all of which communicate their (perhaps unrequited) love for the city of Johannesburg.
SINDISO KHUMALO is the self-titled womenswear brand of, you guessed it, Sindiso Khumalo – a South African-born, London-based textile and fashion designer. The brand encompasses bold, graphic prints with a sophisticated, minimalist construction. Sindiso first studied architecture at UCT before transitioning into the fashion industry. The woman she designs for has “an attitude about clothing and how she puts things together in her life. She could be really young, or very mautre, but she still shares a similar sensibility with the brand.” In September this year, SINDISO KHUMALO took part in the Africa Utopia Festival at the Southbank, London.
Matt Kay is a Durban-raised and New York-based graphic designer. Currently plying his trade in the East Village of Manhattan at design agency Original Champions of Design, he’s also an alumni of acclaimed local design agency Disturbance. Matt is drawn to the stategy and thought processes that great branding and identity achieves and he endeavours to communicate in a simple, pragmatic way. On a continuous quest for creative inspiration, he has spent the last 2 years of his career growing his portfolio and experiencing the famed creative culture of the Big Apple.
Terence Neale developed an appreciation for street culture by watching skate videos on VHS tapes and loitering about in city parks – an aesthetic now prevalent in his style of directing. Represented by Egg Films locally and RSA Films internationally, Terence has been directing spots sincce 2007 and his talent is to employ both visual and narrative storytelling in his work. In 2012, a creative collaboration with Die Antwoord marked his successful initiation into the terrain of music video direction. His latest video for their track Baby’s on Fire garnered instant world-wide attention – clocking in with over 25 million views to date. Topping this at over 30 million views is his music video for Skrillex’s Ragga Bomb shot in a post-apocalyptic Johannesburg and Alexandra, which won him three Golds and a Bronze at the 2014 Loerie Awards. It’s no surprise that he’s now been ranked the #1 director in the country.
Kristin-lee Moolman is a South African-born photographer and filmmaker who also works under the name of Lee Moami. Her work is luxe with a quirky undertone, and her character-driven images blend technical complexity with creative spontaneity. With features in local and international publications, Kristin-lee’s (very impressive) client list is spread far and wide which has her spending her time between Johannesburg, London, Paris and New York. At the moment, she’s working on a portrait collaboration with Art Comes First and she’s also shooting a series of intimate portraits as a personal project.
Yannick Ilunga (aka Petite Noir)
Local musician Yannick Ilunga, aka Petite Noir, has already collaborated with big names in the industry, headlined at international music festivals and established his own genre of music (Noirwave) – all before turning 23. He was born in Brussels to a Congolese father and Angolan mother, though he grew up in Cape Town. A few years ago Yannick formed part of the African electro-pop band Popskarr and he co-founded The Drone Society, a collective of local creatives doing interesting work here and abroad. Apart from making a considerable dent in the music scene locally, he’s performed in the US, Asia and Europe (where he also recorded) this year.
Go to oudemeester.com to sign up for the Blue Door Society and stand a chance to spend time learning more with Idris Elba and Siya Radebe.
Thumbnail image by www.sdr.co.za