Southern Guild founders and curators, Trevyn and Julian McGowan and art dealers Justin Rhodes and Ashleigh McLean are set to disrupt Johannesburg’s artistic landscape with their dynamic new space in Rosebank’s Keyes Art Mile precinct. The 300-square-metre contemporary exhibition space, in the StudioMAS designed Trumpet building, is due to open this August and heralds an intriguing partnership between leading contemporary art gallery WHATIFTHEWORLD, and esteemed collectible-design platform Southern Guild, both firmly established in Cape Town. Together they have devised an innovative programme for their expansive new space, which can be divided for focused presentations and interdisciplinary experimentations. Each gallery will maintain its distinct individual identity, while simultaneously provoking a new exchange between artists and designers and introducing a new creative dialogue. This local manifestation of a global movement toward blurring the line between art and design will ultimately result in a curatorially focused intimacy between artists working in the two arenas. There will be an independent calendar of programming, but for their inaugural show, the two galleries have purposefully curated a synergetic collection of work, a journey through tableaus that relate and reflect, and that present a strong narrative of their shared methodology – a collection that couldn’t exist anywhere else.
The first show opens in August and will present work by Nigerian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo, Zimbawean sculptor Moffat Takadiwa and visual artist Athi-Patra Ruga alongside limited-edition furniture by leading African designers such as Cheick Diallo, Hamed Ouattara and the late Babacar Niang as well as South African heroes Gregor Jenkin, Porky Hefer and Dokter and Misses.