A juicy legacy

The time has come to recognise one of our own as Garth Walker and the Rooke Gallery launch the iJusi Portfolio.

Garth Walker is a legendary in South African graphic design circles. In 1994, he founded Orange Juice Design Studio, which quickly rose to great heights and earned its reputation, locally and internationally, as one of SA’s best design studios. Walker, however, was more interested in developing and encouraging a language through design that was “rooted in the African experience” and believing this to be Africa’s more powerful traditional weapon, he created iJusi in 1995.

iJusi (meaning “juice” in Zulu) is an experimental graphic design magazine that aims to explore the South African creative spirit while forcing artists to look to their own country for inspiration, moving away from foreign influence. With iJusi, Walker has gone beyond the tired adage of “Proudly South African” and created something that doesn’t just claim to be South African, but something that looks at a whole host of meanings behind what that might mean.

Having exhibited in over 25 countries and held in the collections of MOMA in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Bibliotèque Nationale d’France, it’s about time that a local gallery recognised their own. As such, Walker and the Rooke Gallery launched the first iJusi Portfolio at the JoBurg Art Fair. Under Walker’s new company, Mister Walker, Walker put together the portfolio as a means to ensure the iJusi magazine legacy.

iJusi is expensive to produce as it is privately published by my studio. The portfolio is to raise funding to continue with the magazine, and to also create opportunities for a wider audience to share in the ‘what makes me African’ concept than is possible with an occasional magazine primarily for graphic designers,” explains Walker.

The portfolio features 10 lithographs – seven graphic and three photographic – each signed by the artist. The contributors are a selection of some of SA’s leading creatives who have been featured in iJusi magazine. This includes Anton Kannemeyer, Conrad Botes, David Goldblatt, Mark Kannemeyer, Brandt Botes, Wilhelm Kruger, Brode Volsoo, Pieter Hugo and Mikhael Subotzky.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Minneapolis Art Institute, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Library of the International Centre of Photography in New York have already bought copies of the portfolio. The public can also get a copy of the portfolio with pricing commencing at R19 500 and escalating over the course of the 50 editions.

If you would like more info, contact inside@rookegallery.com