Footnotes in The City

24 July - 28 July 2018
Mezzanine

Footnotes in the City is a body of work that explores street art as a form of visual activism in Durban, South Africa. The exhibition focuses on the work of Mook Lion and his collaborators, as seen by documentary photographer and filmmaker, Samora Chapman.

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Footnotes in the City is an investigation of the urban spaces that provide the context of street art, and people that experience it.

The brothers become invested in this form of cultural expression through their participation in hip hop culture and graffiti in Durban from the mid 2000s. Through this culture they developed an interest in exploring, actively participating and documenting Durban, their city of residence.

Through practice-based research at Durban University of Technology Mook Lion’s artwork asks social and environmental questions in the public space. Samora Chapman fearlessly documents Durban, getting under the skin of the city, finding the beauty and the humanity between the hard urban edges, with an artist’s eye.

Within the context of post-apartheid Durban, a South African city in rapid transition environmentally, socially, economically and culturally, street art is presented as a pragmatic and effective means of cultural response. The ephemeral nature of street art and mural art as a result of the transitory nature of the public space means documentation is the only long lasting evidence of this cultural expression and therefore an exhibition of this nature holds historical value.

Theoretically this exhibition investigates the real and potential function of street art, the vibrant informal economy and art as activism. The artistic strategies of collaboration, participation and site specificity are also explored.