IT is innovative and creative; it is public and speaks to all Joburgers and now Rea Vaya station art has received one of the highest arts accolades in the country.

On 30 August, the Johannesburg Development Agency walked away with the Business Day BASA Award in the innovative category.

The awards ceremony, supported by Anglo American, was held at Hollard Campus in Parktown and hosted in the 100-year-old Villa Arcadia, the 1910 residence of Randlord Lionel Phillips and his wife Florence. It was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

The JDA’s acting chief executive officer, Thanduxolo Mendrew, was delighted with the award.

For a slideshow of the station art click here.
“We are especially honoured that we are the first municipality/government agency to be nominated or awarded an award of this nature in the 13 years the awards have existed. Previously, business was recognised and we are very pleased that we are pioneers in this regard. It is very humbling and we look forward to others playing in this space.”

Art at the Rea Vaya stations – there are 34 of them at present – is commissioned by the JDA and implemented by a consortium consisting of The Trinity Session, Turkis and Urban Works, with the final design choices made by a panel of local artists. The brief to artists is to be original and to celebrate the diverse stories that make Joburg such a unique African city. Artwork at each station reflects the area and the community in which it is situated.

This delightful work is located at Westgate stationThis delightful work is located at Westgate station At Soweto’s Thokoza Park Station in Chris Hani Road, for example, commuters can delight in the bright yellow sunflower and corn ears, by local artist Malakia Mothapo. This station depicts the city’s agriculture and mining past. Art at the Old Synagogue Station in Wolmarans Street, by Shannin Antonopaulo, reflects the cultural, religious and social aspects of this traditionally Jewish area. And at Orlando Police Station in Mooki Street, Prophet JD’s quirky work, Tadpole Fever, deals with transformation.

The designs are sandblasted on to the station’s glass panels.

With new stations being added all the time as the BRT network expands to the west and later, northwards, Joburgers will be able to delight in more public art decorating their city, and hopefully, more accolades.

The BASA – Business and Arts South Africa – awards are now in their 13th year and awards are made in 13 categories. The Innovation Award recognises the most innovative and progressive partnership in all mediums of creativity, one that has served the purpose of partners and highlighted creativity and originality in the process.

Contenders for this year’s Innovation Award, apart from the JDA, were the Absa Internal Choir Festival, the Benchmark Think Project with sculptor Louis Olivier and the South African National Association for the Visual Arts. The full results for all the awards are on the BASA website.

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