South, the new north

SOUTH is an inversion of hand-me-down Eurocentric creativity. Catch the SOUTH exhibition, award and film at the 2009 Design Indaba Expo.

Stand back Milan, London and New York, here comes SOUTH!

SOUTH is an inversion of hand-me-down Eurocentric creativity, a world map turned upside down conceptually, so that South Africa is on top. Over the past few years Design Indaba has witnessed the organic emergence of a new creative ethos. With South Africa’s diverse, rich heritage as source material, and inspired by the rebirth of the South African nation, definitions that move beyond ethnicity, religion, race or language have emerged.

The SOUTH Exhibition, launching at the Design Indaba Expo from 27 February to 1 March, celebrates 22 legendary creative icons that have been at the pole of this upswing over the past few years. They include ubiquitous items such as the South African flag, Zapiro’s indicting political cartoons, the architecturally distinct Constitutional Court, Stoned Cherrie’s taboo-popping Steve Biko T-shirt, and Kulula and Nando’s national identity forging advertisements. There are more design-specific items too, such as Amanda Laird Cherry’s shweshwe dress suits, Garth Walker's iJusi magazines, Peet Pienaar’s Afro magazine, Haldane Martin’s Zulu Mama Chair and Heath Nash’s recycled plastic Leafball lights. Also on exhibition will be a contingent of conscientious solutions such as the Playpump, the Hippo Roller and the award-winning condom applicator.

The 33 SOUTH award finalists complete the exhibition. These finalists were chosen from the 163 entries from across the country by adjudicator Mike Schalit, creative director of Network BBDO. Schalit was assisted by product designer Tsai, known for his multi-award winning Nested Bunkbeds, and Brian Mtongana, known for his “Googlethu” T-shirt and work on the Design Indaba magazine. Three cash prizes of R100 000, R50 000 and R25 000 will be awarded on Sunday 1 March at 5pm in the fashion area.

The SOUTH documentary, co-produced by Interactive Africa and Miles Goodall of Sub Urban Films, uncovers the layers of inspiration in South African graphic design, art, dance, music, fashion, architecture, craft and product design. Tracking creativity from the bubbling urban streets, through the social challenges and historical perceptions of Africa, to reach a contemporary global vanguard, the film captures the passion, resourcefulness, cultural mash-up and biting humour innate to every South African who sees the world upside down. The SOUTH documentary will show daily at 2pm in the Design Indaba Expo fashion area.

SOUTH is the result of the Creative Alliance, a partnership between Design Indaba, the Creative Circle and the Loerie Awards, underwritten by the SABC.

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