StopSign Gallery

Artist: Zama Phakathi
Location: 29, 4th Ave, Melville, South Africa
Year of completion: 2014
Researcher: Siphiwe Ngwenya

StopSign Art Gallery is a mobile contemporary creative space dedicated to supporting both mid-career and emerging South African artists. The concept, which is unique in South Africa, it’s a one of a kind, mobile art space based in a shipping container. Regularly hosting exhibitions, the gallery also offers live performances of both music and dance.The gallery has moved locations several times and this creative space aims to give opportunities to young people to exhibit their works and explore working with other artists. Why a shipping container? The last time these were popular in the township was when they served as expanded communal telephone booths where locals congregated to make calls. But an art gallery inside a shipping container - not a familiar concept The prices of the artworks are not exorbitant either, so there is greater accessibility for art lovers who don’t necessarily have big budgets.

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Having worked with South African artists for years, she knows the local art scene like the back of her hand. Art Walk around Newtown's studios and galleries. During this three hour long experience, you will meet the artists, see the art works in the making and get a unique insight into the art world of South Africa's biggest city. It is a truly unique opportunity. Another differentiating factor about this project the focus is on showcasing emerging as well as mid-career artists, which means that the artists are not yet established but are well on their way.

In 2012 she worked on the Soweto Art Residency project, headed by TV and film director Dumisani Phakathi, coordinating the artwork received from artists needing a platform. There were so many artists sending their portfolios and next thing she knew she had a bunch of great work that deserved to be hanging in a gallery. Phakathi approached two galleries with the idea of working as a full-time curator. She was turned down because most of her portfolios were works of young artists and gallerists kept asking who they were and what they'd done. So she decided to open on her own. The idea to use the container appealed to the artist as it was a way to use space in a different manner. The container also means that it can be a mobile tool allowing for pop-ups in different locations. When choosing a location, energies are of vital importance and is huge contributor as to where the gallery is situated - space is not selected for the sake of having a space.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency