Call for artist proposals

 

Fire Walker, the city’s first major public artwork by William Kentridge and Gerhard MarxFire Walker, the city’s first major public artwork by William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx

ARTISTS have two more opportunities to beautify Joburg with their sculptures.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) is calling on anyone who considers themselves an artist to submit proposals for two sculptures for the inner city. One will be installed in Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, the other in the Commuter Links on the corner of Leyds and Biccard streets in Braamfontein.

In their proposals, designers must give details about their sculpture and how much the whole project will cost. The competition is open to everyone over the age of 18. It closes on 30 March.

Bidding documents must be collected from the JDA offices at the Bus Factory in Newtown, according to the agency’s marketing manager, Susan Monyai.

Mary Fitzgerald Square, in Newtown, is surrounded by historically significant buildings such as the Market Theatre, Museum Africa, Turbine Hall and the Workers’ Museum.

It is being repaired and refurbished to accommodate a larger crowd for public events. The pavements are being redesigned to create space for relaxation and to soften the hard landscaping.

“Previously known as Aaron’s Ground, the square was named after Mary ‘Pickhandle’ Fitzgerald in 1939 after she rose to prominence as the first woman trade unionist in South Africa,” Monyai explains. “A political trailblazer, Mary Fitzgerald raised the banner of women’s rights and scored many firsts.”

She was the city’s first female printer and the first female councillor in Joburg.

The other sculpture will be installed in the Commuter Links on the corner of Leyds and Biccard streets in Braamfontein.

The site is also being redeveloped, and the revamping allows space for the installation of a medium scale sculpture. This main element is accompanied by an additional detail in core-ten steel, which requires a redesign of commuter or pedestrian figures in a line positioned along the upgraded Biccard Street bridge wall, according to Monyai.

Johannesburg has made a substantial investment in the development of public transport and the Commuter Links is one of these upgrades. It includes the improvement of roads around Rotunda Coach Terminal and Park Station.

These new sculptors will add to the JDA’s 10-year legacy of installing public art around the city. Colourful sculptures and murals of all shapes and sizes are found in the inner city, Soweto and Orange Farm. “There are colourful cows on Transport Square, whimsical pigeons on Market Street, and a dignified eland in Braamfontein,” it says.

The JDA spends one percent of its annual capital budget on new artworks in line with the City’s Public Art Policy. “The result is a portfolio of artwork that brands Johannesburg as a creative and welcoming city that celebrates its heritage and people,” Monyai explains.

The new figures will be added to the wooden heads in Newtown, the hand signal statuettes on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, the soccer players’ carvings in Ellis Park and The Firewalker at the Braamfontein entrance to the inner city.

The competition is open until Wednesday, 30 March. For more information, call the JDA on 011 688 7867 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 


Related stories: