‘WOZA SISI’- Come sister

'As I walk around Johannesburg CBD, I notice an influx of many street hairstylists stationed in different intersections on the pavement. Woza Sisi is a photo series investigating ways in which migrant women negotiate, navigate and shape the complex space they encounter in Johannesburg CBD as street hairstylists. It looks into ways in which the women position themselves; how they use and negotiate urban spaces.’

The photo-zine includes images from the series. The layout is clean and simple. The grid formation is used as an design element to represent the display boards used for advertising the different hairstyles. The publication bound is finished with braided synthetic hair, significant to the subject matter.

Zine created and written by. Dahlia Maubane

Alphabet Zoo zine Collection Exhibit A. Zine I of X


Degrees of Separation, a group exhibition by Assemblage- Alphabet Zoo’s working process at the Gary Stephens’ Johannesburg studio in Ellis House.

Please join us on Sunday 7 September from 11:00 at the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg for the opening of ‘Degrees of Separation’, a group exhibition by Assemblage.

The exhibition will be opened at 11:30 by artist and educator, and regular mentor of Assemblage, Usha Seejarim.

In an interview in 2013, art critic Mary Corrigall observed that ‘artists don’t look enough at each other’s work’ (ref 1). Degrees of Separation, a collaborative and process-driven group exhibition by Assemblage, aims to respond to and interrogate this observation, to encourage conversation, collaboration and peer review amongst the invited exhibiting artists. Assemblage is interested in sharing, connecting and creating amongst artists. This is the reason the organisation was started and the promise the organisation hopes to fulfill. This integral ideology is the reason it has chosen to engage with Corrigall’s observation.

Through a series of peer mentoring workshops leading up to the exhibition, the artists spent six months looking directly at, interrogating and responding to one another’s practice and artworks. Common (and uncommon) themes, concepts, materials, methodologies and practices were shared amongst the artists. Through a process of reduction and extraction at the beginning stages of the collaborative process, common (identity, narrative, repetition) and uncommon (movement, excess, absence) themes amongst the group were established. The group decided that based on these themes each artist would select one from each group and conceptualise and develop a new work based on their selection.

This engagement resulted in varying degrees of collaboration, some more direct than others. Questions emerged around what connects each artist, what connections do we find in the unexpected, how does this speak to Assemblage as a hub that connects artists to each other and to the industry as a whole?

What emerges in Degrees of Separation is a group of artists who have challenged and moved beyond their existing practices through a direct or indirect engagement with the practice of their peers.

The exhibition showcases 17 artists that the organisation has worked with during the four years since its inception, they are:

Allen Laing, Alphabet Zoo (Isaac Zavale and Minenkulu Ngoyi), Anthea Pokroy, Audrey Anderson, Bevan de Wet, Carly Whitaker, Dirk Bahmann, Lois Anguria, Louise Ross, Mandy Coppes-Martin, Mandy Johnston, Nathan Jansen Van Vuuren, Phumulani Ntuli, Ross Passmoor, Yael Feldman, and Zwelethu Machepha.

The exhibition will run until 27 September 2014.
Gallery hours are: Mon - Fri 08:00-16:00

This exhibition was made possible by Absa, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and the National Arts Council (NAC).

Assemblage is a non-profit organisation which intends for the visual arts community of Johannesburg to connect, to share ideas, information and advice and to collaborate. It provides an inclusive forum where visual art students, graduates and professionals can network. Assemblage encourages production, participation, professionalism and the sharing of resources, knowledge and skills. Through an informative website, peer mentoring groups, workshops, group exhibitions, artist studios and other collaborative projects, it hopes to contribute and promote artistic innovation, collaboration and a proactive vibrancy within Johannesburg.

Ref 1: Mary Corrigall in conversation with Usha Seejarim, Sept 2013, The Art of Access webinar series