Rand Steam draws its name from the location of the original Rand Steam Laundries and the Ama-washa site of the late nineteenth century. The original buildings that were used for washing, ironing, dying and dry-cleaning were still standing in 2008.
Unfortunately, some of these buildings were illegally demolished and the only remaining structures were the Water Tower – used to soften and purify water for use in the laundry; and the large pepper tree – planted to deter flies from the laundry site.
These structures were declared heritage sites by the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation and any future development would need to include these structures.
Be on the lookout for hidden history with some of the bricks from the original buildings featuring on the new walls.
The stairs in the restored water tower is also made from the reclaimed wood sourced from the original structures.
The water features, reminiscent of the Gas Works Spruit along which washing took place, have also been built using stones from the original buildings.
Tanya BonelloCurated by Els van Mourik
“The gypsum and synthetic gold and silver leaf, by virtue of their nature, will continue to transform or change – they are representative of the maxim ‘all is in a state of flux’. The geometry signifies that which we know – the fathomable – whilst the writing appears to be unfathomable as a known language, and as such is representative of that which we do not know or that which we cannot describe in words.”
RMB Turbine Art FairRMB Turbine Art Fair (RMB TAF) is a unique South African Art fair that brings together exhibitors from around the country to present, sell and celebrate works. The fair is the epicentre of emerging art in South Africa. It presents a space for the showcasing of established and new talent in an environment that is immersive, accessible and inclusive.
#ARTladiesCurated by Els van Mourik Berman Contemporary’s The New Vanguard is a mentoring group for artists with emerging practices. We create opportunities for them such as curated exhibitions, art fairs and coaching.
Earth, Wind and FireCurated by Els van Mourik
Chrisél Attewell worked together with French artist Barabara Schroeder on a collaborative body of work during their 4 week stay at the Entabeni Artist Residency in Knysna during August 2019. The interesting pairing of these two artists continues with the exhibition Earth, Wind and Fire.
Chrisél Attewell works in multiple mediums, including experimental printmaking, sculpting, painting and installation. Her work often explores different ways in which energies, moments, memories and histories can be captured, documented and preserved.
Traces of Untold StoriesCurated by Els van Mourik
The geological foundations of Príncipe, this island in the Gulf of Guinea, and its larger younger sibling to the south-west – São Tomé – were laid millions of years ago by an effulgence of volcanic lava.
The second layering is the visible verdant growth which – midwifed by the ultra-rich volcanic soil and equatorial climate – became a thick carpet of rain forest. The islands remained uninhabited until Portugal’s maritime explorers landed in 1471 and began a gradual and ultimately ruthless process of colonisation. By the 16th century, this tiny archipelago off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa was a vital commercial centre for the Atlantic slave trade.
The works in this series emerged from a deep well of reflection as I travelled throughout these islands, up through the layers of collective memory and loss; industrial decomposition and natural renewal; painful enslaved extraction and fecund yield.