The Shoe Shop exhibition in greater Johannesburg takes place outdoors and comments on a search for public space. Side-walks, shop fronts, outside walls and bus shelters in Naledi, Braamfontein, Hillbrow, Parktown and in the Maboneng distinct, become exhibition spaces for the works by artists Jodi Bieber, Musa Nxumalo, Guy Woueté, Fatoumata Diabaté, Thabiso Sekgala, Sokona Diabaté, Amadou Sow and Emmanuel Bakary Daou, with photographs printed on large signs and A1 posters. The photographers’ work challenge different formats of photography, as well as looking at aspects and meanings of movement and the realities of migration. The particularity of the installation spaces also point to the geopolitical circumstances for different groups in Johannesburg population – provoking a discussion on heterotopia and accessibility to art and public space.

Posters are also made available to visitors to the Shoe Shop to expand the exhibition elsewhere and be collected (free with a conversation). The installation by Shoe Shop visitors can be documented on the map.


Jodi Bieber Biography
Going home – Illegality and repatriation, South Africa – Mozambique (posters)

Eleven years ago Jodi Bieber followed people being arrested in Hillbrow Johannesburg as ‘illegal immigrants’, and their journey as they were being taken back to their home country, Mozambique. She took pictures in the police-bus, at the deportation camp of Lindela, the train journey and the arrival in Mozambique, this shortly after the heavy floods in 2001. ‘Operation crack down’ was the name of the police initiative to address the high crime level in South Africa at the time, which saw also the detention of ‘illegal immigrants’.

Bieber’s work is shown in the place where the series was partly shot, and brings back to the Hillbrow of today one narrative of its history of immigration, as much as questioning the history and aesthetics of violence. 17 pictures have been selected out of the series of 22.

Cambridge Foods, Pretoria Street, Hillbrow (2 to 15 May)
Outside Central Methodist Church, 79 Pritchard Street, 2001 City of Johannesburg, near Supreme Court (2 to 30 June)


Jürgen Schadeberg Biography | Postcard
We won’t move, 1959


Emmanuel Bakary Daou Biography | Postcard | Prints
–       Marche bleue (Blue march), 2010: Lorna Court, Twist Street
–       La course du gagne pain (Breadwinning race), 2010
–       L’aube des migrants dormant à la belle étoile (Dawn of the migrants sleeping outside), 2010
–       Le rideau de l’horizon (The curtain to the horizon), 2010
–       Mon fils vit à l’étranger (My son lives abroad), 2010: International House, Wits University

Bamako is a complex Pan-African cosmopolitan city: it remains a crossroads of many routes leading through West Africa. Emmanuel B. Daou in his documentrary work observes labour migration movements, young people coming from rural areas, working as servants arriving in carriages and leaving the city with new bicycles, people walking to work and walking home, and people waiting for their loved ones to come back. In his pictures, space is not entirely determined and shaped by social practice: at times it appears a précis, with a degree of abstraction and a certain luminosity lent to his subjects.

Hillbrow, Goldreich Street, base of the Hillbrow Tower

Fatoumata Diabaté Biography | Postcard | Prints

–       Ousmane et ses collègues à la mairie d’Issy (Ousmane and his colleagues at the municipality of Issy), 2011
–       Aubervilliers, 2006
–       La cour du foyer Bara (The courtyard of the Bara home), 2011
–       Ntata, Paris, 2006

Fatoumata Diabaté stayed at times in Paris for a period of time taking pictures of the local Malian community, their work, living circumstances, and leisure time activities. Her gaze is informed by sympathy and allows an intimate look at the lives of these people who maintain their Malian ways of doing things as much as they corporate elements of French lifestyle. Her pictures focus the hybrid, the simultaneous present absence of the African migrant’s experience within a specific European context, not as a victim, nor as a conqueror.

Yeoville, Old TRain, 44 Raleigh Street, between Kenmere Road and Bedford Road (diagonally across from the Yeoville Swimming Pool a little way down towards Bedford Road


Sokona Diabaté Biography
Portrait de famille (Family portrait), 2010 (sign)

Sokona Diabaté in her series of family portraits taken in 2010 during a wedding in Bamako, plays around the absence of the groom, who is making a living abroad, and the group of ‘wealthy’ women present. Historically, Bamako is a centre of trade in West-Africa, and like Johannesburg one defined by gold. The city is less pompous today with almost every family sends someone abroad for financial support. The show of property affects on the importance of social stature and the trapping of wealth, as much as the absence of the individuals that make it possible.Gold to gold, Portrait de famille is to be seen in CBD.

Johannesburg City, 78 Fox Street, near AngloGold Ashanti


Musa Nxumalo Biography
In Search Of…/Blueprint, 2012 (sign)

Ideas of ‘Home’, ‘re-location’ and ‘heredity’ are interwoven with the history of segregation and Apartheid. In Search Of…/Blueprint by Musa Nxumalo is an attempt to map his personal family history throughout South Africa. The work is about achieving a very individual sense of belonging, descent, family members and friendships that transcend the obvious narrative, to come to a nuanced image of familial elations.

Soweto, Chris Hani Road, near Baragwanath Hospital


George Osodi Biography | Postcard | Prints
Black streets (EKI) The quest for greener pasture (posters)

–       Agowie, 2008 & Saponba II, 2009
–       Benin City II, 2009 & Oslo I, 2008
–       Stavanger V, 2008 & Benin City V, 2008

From Nigeria to Europe, George Osodi tracks the different moments in the journey of young women on their way to joining what they consider a high-class world of escorting men, prostitution. The selected photographs are part of an ongoing body of photographic work, presented in 2008. The six selected pictures have been combined in pairs for the Shoe Shop exhibition. This coupling reminds one of the serial character of Osodi’s body of work and the narrative potential of different combinations and images.

Troyeville, Op de Bergen Street, opposite Abfab Bottle Store


Thabiso Sekgala Biography | Prints
Homeland and On public demand

–       PanKop, 2010 (Homeland)
–       Erasmus Bus Stop, 2010 (Homeland)
–       Road between Gauteng and Northwest, Hammanskraal, 2011 (Homeland)
–       Bop TV satellite, Mmabatho, 2011
–       Mlambos Express, Noord, 2012 (On public demand)
–       Pass me over, 2012 (On public demand)
–       DJ Paric crew, 2012 (On public demand)

The poster edition of Thabiso Sekgala’s body of work is made up of a selection from his series of photographs, Homeland (2009-2011), which explores memory, place and interrelated self-imagining, and a new body of work, On public demand, analysing urban public space in Johannesburg as used by foreign street musicians and performers. Thabiso Sekgala will continue his work on the appropriating performance and sound practice on the blog with daily postings during May.

Parktown North, 7th Ave, corner 3rd Ave, bus-stop


Amadou Sow Biography | Postcard
Taama sira (Migrant’s exodus), 2010

Taama sira was a series of photographs Amadou Sow took at a healer’s place. It is a common practice in Mali to ask a healer before you leave if your trip will be fruitful. Sow’s pictures give us a vision of a practice that Jean Rouch and other anthropologists were so exited about earlier in the 20th century, namely the capacity to see and know about how the future will look like.

Taama sira is to be seen around The Bioscope and Arts on Main in Maboneng district, a ‘new centre’ of Johannesburg.

Johannesburg City, 245 Main Street, Maboneng Parking Lot, opposite Goethe on Main


Guy Woueté Biography | Postcard
Lines of Wind, 2010

Guy Woueté with this totem poles made of wood and shoes works with strong cultural symbols: The shoes implies individual as much as it is an anonymous leftovers by people who run away or who have been chased or killed. The totem (the wooden head) is a monument to ancestral belonging, stands as symbol for monumental order and addresses questions of memory and remembrance. Shoes, as image, play an important role in the narratives of flight and camps since World War II, the war in Yugoslavia, and the ‘war against migrants’ in the Saharan desert.

The fence between Joubert Park and the Johannesburg Art Gallery as installation site is significant here: Lines of Wind reconfigures the gallery’s exhibiting practice and politics of defence and the fluidity of the surrounding space of Hillbrow, which is constantly changing since its establishment due to immigrant movement.

Johannesburg, Joubert Park, between King George and Twist Street, fence opposite Johannesburg Art Gallery