David & Radcliffe

The new contemporary

Style, ConceptZainab Slemang
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary
David & Radcliffe – The new contemporary

At the helm of a promise of greatness lies the distinct character of creativity that can be found in all of us, if only given the chance

When I first sat down to give the images in this post context with the written word, I was going to pen some carefully constructed prose on the democratisation of fashion, the rise of prêt-à-porter (or ready-to-wear) and the state of haute couture in an age of excess and status buy-in. Unfortunately, my brain's capacity to process fully formed thoughts seems to be lacking and my usual eloquent (or so I'd like to think) literary prowess eludes me as I've been surviving on a diet of early morning pancakes, late-night meals thrown together in a state of fatigue and approximately six or less hours of sleep.

The reason for my lacklustre appearance and unhealthy habits (by most human standards, anyway; the rest of my journalism and communication colleagues would laugh at my audacity for proclaiming six hours is too little and that coffee and a bad toasted sarmie is more than enough fuel to get you through a deadline – or two) of late is that I've been doing communications coordination at what, arguably, could be one of the most significant institution openings the African continent has seen, or will see, for many years. In just two weeks, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) will be opening its doors to the public for the very first time and, although I joined the fray at quite a late stage, I can't be more proud or humbled to be a part of such an historic project.

That being said, with two very busy weeks ahead, I've had no time to eat, sleep, breath or think of anything other than press previews, museum memberships, curators, architecture and, of course, art. Oh, the art! Every day, I get to work and walk within a space that houses some of the most gorgeous and compelling contemporary artworks, flown in from across the globe. And each day, there's something new to discover: A giant screen projecting a film that speaks to both human migration and the medium as a carrier of memory and information that takes up an entire gallery room, a series of photographs portraying the concept of being forgotten, a suspended ... wait, I've already said too much (so best you get your hands on free tickets for the grand opening weekend from 22–25 September). 

Getting back to my point of relating these particular images to some sort of context, the Zeitz MOCAA's entire philosophy hinges on that of being inclusive – through its various exhibitions, by granting access for all to these exhibitions, and by its implementation of an education centre and curatorial training programme that significantly includes a Curator of Digital Platforms. With the democratisation of information by technology, the internet itself plays host to numerous artists across various mediums– from music to digitally crafted drawings and photographs. So while this work may not be seen as significant within the context in which it is shown (i.e. the internet), they are in themselves artistic expressions. 

Art – as it is seen through the eyes of art lovers, curators, gallery owners and artists – is a reflection of society, the world around us – whether it's adolescent rebellion, political pressures or outright dissatisfaction with the status quo. And current society's collective consciousness is telling us that anyone armed with a computer, tablet or smart phone can be a creative, an activitist, a writer...

Who knows? Perhaps someday, these ill-informed musings and their obscure connections to imagery may find themselves on the walls of a museum gallery too. And that in itself would play into the ethos of inclusivity.

Image 1: Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots

Image 2: Puma Basket sneaker

Image 3: Black Betty ring

Image 4: The Joinery satchel, Black Betty bracelets and rings

Image 5: Adidas Stan Smith sneaker

Image 6: Black Betty earring

Image 7: The Joinery laptop sleeve, Black Betty bracelets and rings

Photography: Mohammed Hoosain

Beauty: ONQ Makeup

Henna tattoo: Nazeefah Allie