By joining an AWOL City Cycle tour visitors get to experience many aspects of the “Mother City”. Its famous rich history, imposing geology and cultural diversity will obviously be pointed out and discussed. But there is much more. AWOL guides also like to point out the less obvious attractions of the city, some of them hidden in plain sight….
Five large sharks float three meters above the ground and move on their pivot with the changing winds. As most of the foreshore is reclaimed land, the wave-like brickwork below the sculptures enhances the artist’s idea of re-exploring the ocean. When the wind is quite strong the sharks start ‘singing’ due to flutes placed in the gills. The combination of shivering sharks and the eerie sound is impressive. In the original design the sharks were also supposed to follow pedestrians by using build in motion sensors.
Pier Place is located close to Jetty Square in the commercial heart of Cape Town. This otherwise basic and bland open public space is made livelier by several sculptures of human beings. It seems like the pieces have been positioned randomly, but in fact it helps them to blend in. This works so well, that some of the smaller pieces are literally hidden in plain sight. The sculptures are all about simply going on with daily things like walking, talking, playing or resting. The art project succeeded in adding some charm and life to Pier Place. In 2009 it received the ILASA (Institute of Landscape Architects of South Africa) Merit award.
Two bronze boxes are located in front of the art gallery and they seem to invite you to climb on and do your “thing”. This piece is the brainchild of Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky and was intended as a public platform for debate, performance and/or silent protest. The original art project included a plasma screen and surveillance camera for added interaction with the piece. The artists’ idea was to get the human sculpture off the pedestal and to put engaging people on it.
Two benches, one marked “Whites Only” and the other “Non White Only” are located next to the front door of the High Court Civil Annex building in Queen Victoria Street.
Not everybody who walks, cycles or drives past them actually notices them. But when people do, the reactions can differ from shock to curiosity.
Some (or many) visitors mistake these benches for the actual ones used during the apartheid era. They’re not. The mimicry benches form part of the Sunday Times Centenary Heritage Project and are a public art installation, located where the Race Classification Board had its rooms between 1959 and 1991. Printed on the benches are phrases from the classification legislation.
Although initially not designed to be an artwork, the section of Berlin Wall on display at the top of St George Mall is arty in a way. It was donated to President Nelson Mandela after his state visit to Germany and Berlin in May 1996.
The German Democratic Republic (GDR) erected the wall on 13 August 1961 and officials opened it again on 9 November 1989, a mere three months before the release of Nelson Mandela on 11 February 1990. It was a symbol of political division in Europe and the artificial separation of the people of Berlin (West vs. East, Capitalism vs. Communism). By placing it near Parliament, this section of Wall is now a symbol of a shared history of separation and a shared future of unification.
Written by – Niels Moorlach