Morag Myerscough turns concrete jungles into spaces of belonging

The artist talks us through her giant centrepiece for Design Indaba Festival 2018, Embrace The Unknown.

Towering above the concrete square that is the Artscape Theatre Piazza, Morag Myerscough’s Embrace the Unknown was specially designed for Design Indaba Festival 2018.

An event that deals in both the cerebral and the visceral, the interactive sculpture was built as a site where festival-goers could kickback, play, and digest the Conference talks during the day, and revel in the festivities of Nightscape in the evening.

“This piece here, Embrace the Unknown, was totally in response to this square here [the Artscape Theatre Piazza] where I spoke with [Design] Indaba about when people attend conferences, they come to listen to things but in between you need somewhere to release your energy and relax,” explains Myerscough.

“It felt like this square outside here was a place where we could give that to people.”

It came equipped with a slide, swings and the neon geometric patterns that Myerscough is known for. “It’s taking a square that is very nearly all concrete and transforming it into a playground."

Created in collaboration with Luke Morgan and facilitated by Design Indaba’s Juanita Ferreira, the structure includes the adapted illustrations by South African children. This inclusion, Myerscough says, is an important part of creating a piece that belongs to the people.

“My whole thing about being is about belonging and making work that people feel part of and they belong to and they can relate to,” she says.

This sense of belonging is also part of the structure’s afterlife. Part of the piece will be used as temporary structures in a public park in Zonnebloem. The rest of the sculpture will be used in a library revamp.

Myerscough, who has created multiple exhibitions, sculptures and more over the last 20 years, was recently awarded the Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) status. Considered the highest honour a designer in the UK can receive, the RDI recognises creatives who have made a significant impact on society.

She also spoke at Design Indaba Conference 2018. Her Design Talk will be made available online soon.