Tashi & Sascha Stylianou
07.04.2016 | 25.05.2016
Since returning to Johannesburg 10 years ago, we have been researching and exploring the history of the city as never before. Breaking away from the propaganda both black and white, past and present and discovering a transatlantic history in the heartland of not only Africa, but the human race. Moulded and formed under the pressures of the foreign wealthy white savages and poor tribal local cultures, Joburg is an exciting and international city all along at the heart of European and African society.
Quite savage and greed driven on a landscape already blood soaked full of mythology and actual history. Finding all aspects of guilt and shame blurred by the savagery of all concerned, still functioning with no end in sight on basic greed. Call it what you like, history and racism seem only to be used to cover this up. This city has always been frantic and disturbing from weapon smith sangomas on the koppies to gold rush madness, apartheid and the present. We doubt very much any of us today would have been able to like, let alone tolerate the company of the “elders” that proceeded us. Driven by notions of ambition as virtue no matter what the cost, insane religious beliefs and traditionalism while quite simply seeking nothing but profit. The victims in turn victimising without hesitation or remorse. Looking at images of the past, people who bathed once a month freely self-medicated with what we now call Class A narcotics and discriminating against each other with notions both scientific and traditional. But if anyone can relate certainly we can, we’re sure every individual has a certain charm no matter how brutal. And naïve ideas of some kind of golden age in the near past will never help us evolve or appreciate the present.
To really love and appreciate what we are, having a realistic experience of the past, by oneself is indispensable. Actually look at the faces of our ancestors, actually think for yourself about their behaviour and character, and try to go beyond the soft focus inherent in putting the past behind us. Maybe then we can appreciate ourselves for what we are. One of the first working titles for this most recent project was ‘Joburg Pop’ even more so the deeper we delve, we find people perfectly relatable given the circumstances. And possibly intelligent answers to our plight. A bunch of lovable rogues and just plain bastards.
Using inspiration and actual found materials from the original Johannesburg post office and working out of the 1920’s sorting office we are producing an ongoing collection commenting on both the past and present. Trying to effectively break the confines of academic and popular art and notions of white privilege and black victimization as the only story Johannesburg has to tell. While the real villains look on from afar enjoying the benefits of the loot!
T & S Stylianou