WhatIfTheWorld and Southern Guild take over Joburg with their
new joint gallery venture
Two Cape Town giants collide in Johannesburg this month as art gallery WHATIFTHEWORLD and design platform Southern Guild open a shared space in Rosebank’s Keyes Art Mile precinct. The Trumpet building is becoming home to interdisciplinary exhibitions, presentations, events and experimentations by the 50 or so artists and makers from across the continent represented by both entities. This creative exchange will foster new and thought provoking collaborations that cross mediums as much as borders.
“Johannesburg is an influential business and cultural hub, and its reputation for creativity makes it the perfect location for this exhibition space that will be a reflection of what’s happening art and design-wise in Africa,” says Justin Rhodes, who founded WITW in 2008. Since then it has grown to become a positive disruptor in the contemporary art scene and taken its artists to global fairs, festival and institutions. “We’re prepared to be non-conformist. In forging this new partnership, we’re creating an original forum and delivering a one-of-a-kind gallery experience,” Rhodes adds.
Southern Guild’s Trevyn McGowan agrees. “We each have strong, unique viewpoints, a desire to change the status quo, and as our galleries and our artists have matured we have found we also share an approach, audience and client base. This opportunity to combine our voices, to explore the intersection of art and design, promises results greater than the sum of our parts.” Southern Guild also originally opened in 2008 and has become the global go-to for collectible design from Africa. In September they present Porky Hefer at the inaugural London Design Biennale.
The duo’s first joint show in Joburg features Nataal favourite Lakin Ogunbanwo, who Nataal selected for our New African Photography exhibition at Red Hook Labs in May (Read our interview with him here). Ogunbanwo's work joins and juxtaposes pieces from a stellar line-up including Moffat Takadiwa, Athi-Patra Ruga, Cheick Diallo, Hamed Ouattara, Babacar Niang, Gregor Jenkin, Porky Hefer and Dokter and Misses.