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The Playground transforms the market into a celebratory kaleidoscope of local talent Article Image

The Playground transforms the market into a celebratory kaleidoscope of local talent

Posted on 30 June 2022

When The Playground market opened in January this year, replacing the much-loved pre-Covid Neighbourgoods Market, visionary founder of Play Braamfontein, Adam Levy, promised that the new iteration would excite a whole new generation and be a holding place for outstanding talent.

True to his word, he is doing just that. In collaboration with Heineken, The Playground put out a call recently for artists to submit a link to their work with a biography, so that an artist could be selected to paint a two-storey mural at the entrance to the market.

When an overwhelming number of artists - more than 70 in total - responded to the call, the abundance of obvious talent made it impossible to narrow it down to one.

"Johannesburg is home to a depth and breadth of creativity that is impossible to ignore," says Levy, "and we've made it our mission to put Braamfontein back on the map as the cultural heart of the city. And there is no better way to rekindle the spirit of urban regeneration after a global pandemic than to bring together a landmark community market and a group of young artists whose voices should be heard."

The ten muralists are: Dbongz, Naledi Tshegofatso, Jakes Mbele, Thabang Mojela, Nicholas Vries, Ras Silas Motse, Yolo Liso Xulu, Kaya Gwebu and Samurai Farai.

Dbongz in Phillipi township

"Inventiveness is part of our DNA as a brand," said Marcel Swain, Head of Marketing: Premium at Heineken South Africa, "so when Adam approached us with this opportunity to partner, we could not resist. Heineken challenges standards and stereotype thinking with creativity and ingenuity. This collaboration will showcase refreshing views and creative expressions to inspire people to keep an open mind."

Play Braamfontein has erected over 40 metres of concrete panels around the inside of The Playground - enough of an area for ten muralists to really make their mark, rather than one. "The big mural... that will come next," says Levy, "after the ten artists we've chosen to paint have been given a space to showcase their work. When we offered this opportunity to one of the artists, he said that it would be the best business card ever! And that's what Play Braamfontein hopes to be for a new generation - the place to visit when you're looking for fresh talent, and the place that fresh talent can find a home to develop their skills."

"Play Braamfontein already has an impressive list of alumni linked to their history: Dokter & Misses, Willowlamp, Kudzanai Chiurai, Banele Khoza, Black Coffee, Critical Mass, Adidas Runbase & Area 3, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Stevenson Gallery, Balkan Burgers and Father Coffee to name but a few. We've asked ten more creatives to join their ranks."

Once all ten murals have been completed, members of the public will be given the opportunity to vote for their favourite mural - via Instagram - either remotely or by coming to the market, posting a photo of the artwork that speaks loudest to them and having a complimentary Heineken for their efforts!

This will help to inform the selection of five artists, who will work with Heineken to submit creative concepts that will be considered for the final two-storey mural.

"We are going to make Braamfontein a beacon for exceptionalism again," concludes Levy. "Art - and murals in particular - have the power to create a sense of community, pride and belonging. Play Braamfontein has already orchestrated more than 20 major murals in the area - and one by one - they will ignite a sense in people that this is a city worth belonging to and taking care of."

Johnny Allison, The Courage To Be




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