First Thursdays Self-Guided Programme

Cape Town - June 2017

First Thursdays has always been more of an unfacilitated experience, encouraging attendees to explore, discover new things, get lost. This is the first time we’ve published what one might call a “route”. We’ve mapped out a more focused programme, based on what we believe to be new exhibitions that are worth visiting. The objective of this is to encourage attendees to visit exhibitions that they might not have otherwise seen, and to facilitate more engagement with the cultural programme. What is important to note is that this is a choice. One may follow the programme strictly, or deviate from the map and discover other exhibitions and attractions along the way. This is there for those who wish to use it. 

Please note that you follow this programme at your own risk. We encourage all attendees to be vigilant, to walk in groups, and never to put yourself in situations where you do not feel safe. Enjoy the programme, and if you have any feedback get in touch at

Start at point number 1 and make your way from there. Most galleries close at 9pm, so we encourage starting by around 6pm to give yourself enough time at each exhibition. Do not rush, be in one place at one time, and most importantly, look.

If you're on your phone, follow the programme below, or download the printable version here:

1. SMITH - 56 Church Street

Showing: “HUSH HUSH" Group photography exhibition

HUSH HUSH is SMITH’s first photography exhibition, which seeks to test the scope of the contemporary photographic medium as an experimental art form. Eight artists have been invited to contribute work, all of whom share a particular concern with the reinvention of the photographic landscape. While their means of manipulation differ as vastly as the various methods and materials used, in each case the artist is an active participant in the fabrication of the final image. HUSH HUSH hones in on the way in which intentional intrusions into a chosen landscape, scene, or still life fundamentally changes the image that is finally captured by a camera, thus blurring – and in some cases obliterating – the line between where an artist ends and an image begins.

Artists: Nico Krijno, Thandiwe Msebenzi, Paris Brummer, Johno Mellish, Bert Pauw, Andile Buka, Mitchell Gilbert Messina and Ashley Walters.

2. The AVA Gallery - 35 Church Street

Showing: "Erf 81: Two decades of living on the fringe"

Featuring work by Ashley Walters, Andre Laubscher and Dirk Winterbach, this exhibition is a project of the "Other Histories Initiative" at the Centre for Curating the Archive at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at UCT. The exhibition hopes to offer an insight into the complex life of Erf 81, also known as the Tamboerskloof Farm, through the contemplative images of photographer Ashley Walters. They show Erf 81 as a space situated between the urban city centre and a national park, in which people, animals, as well as the small creatures that inhabit the slopes of Signal Hill, live in a nurturing, creative relationship with each other. Also included here are the sculptures and fragments of sculptural installations of André Laubscher and Dirk Winterbach, two residents of the farm whose works are both deeply aware of the broader social issues they address, and inseparably linked to the land on which they were made.

3. The Architect Gallery - 71 Hout Street

Showing: “The Way of All Flesh” A photo exhibition by Kevin Fellingham of buildings by Roelof Uytenbogaardt.

The exhibition features photographs of South African architect Roelof Uytenbogaardt’s buildings, all taken in the early 1990s by Kevin Fellingham on 35mm slide film. In part this is an act of appreciation for the built legacy that Uytenbogaardt contributed to architecture in South Africa; Uytenbogaardt is respected as a teacher and practitioner working within the late modernist idiom that was global fashion at the time. It is also a reflection on a larger force at play, one which concerns all architecture equally, and that is entropy. These photographs can be considered as images that preserve Uytenbogaardt’s work at their approximate half-life, between newly built ideal and boarded-up decrepitude. The photographs define a moment, and in so doing also suggest a narrative: the buildings’ initial idealism expressed through his powerful manipulation of form, the buildings settling into everyday use as recorded in the photographs, and then of course the buildings as we know them today in their various states of appropriation and neglect. Entropy is formless, it is a process, and when it works on built form it presents the unavoidable fact of future, which is ruin and eventual absence. The exhibition respects the ambition of the architect’s desire to build fragments for a better world, and also acknowledges the resistance to that ambition offered by a complex and ever shifting reality. It hopes to contribute quietly to the on-going conversation in local discourse about the social agency of built form.

4. Gallery MOMO - 170 Buitengracht Street

*Please be careful when crossing Buitengracht Street. Best to cross at Wale Street.

Showing: “Ordentlikheid: a creolised object” by Stephané E. Conradie

This body of work focuses on objects found in lower middle and working class homes in South Africa. Though seemingly only used for aesthetic purposes or seen as common place, Conradie suggests that they could provide an important insight and contribution to an understanding of identity formation, by studying what people attach value to and how they create meaning in the private spheres of their homes. The home and the material culture it represents can also form micro representations of how we have encoded our understanding of the world and how this translates into our private domains. This body of work stems from Conradie’s lifelong fascination with the way in which people choose to categorise and arrange objects in their homes, particularly her own family members in both Namibia and South Africa. These objects have provided her with a language to investigate the creolised formations that identity is linked to South Africa’s history of colonialism, slavery, segregation and apartheid. Creolisation directs our attention towards the cultural phenomena and material culture that result from displacement and the ensuing social encounter and mutual influences between/among two or several groups, creating an ongoing dynamic interchange of symbols and practices, eventually leading to new forms with varying degrees of stability. It was not merely the encounter that emerged from the meeting of African slaves and white settlers that produced creolisation, but rather the happenstance of individuals and groups who were already transformed by conquests and exchanges who came from diverse cultures and from varying geographic regions. Interestingly, when one starts to look at how certain objects became part of the mediation of the colonial encounter, they speak of an already creolised colonist and the power of the object to fuel further conquest. What then are the effects of a creolised Europe colonising southern Africa only to produce a new set of creolised groups of people who adopt an already creolised material culture? Ordentlikheid: a creolised object tries to explore this question. As such, we do not entangle objects, but objects entangle us.

5. Amplify Studio - 153 Loop Street

Showing: "The Interrupters" A photographic exhibition by Lee-Ann Olwage

The Interrupters is a photographic exhibition that showcases powerful portraits of reformed gangsters and tells the stories of those who have changed their lives against all odds. These remarkable men are using their background and street credibility to work as professional violence interrupters as part of the CeaseFire initiative to reduce gang violence. They are changing the ending for themselves and their community and they are proof that change is possible. The aim of the exhibition is to tell these inspirational stories of change through powerful portraits and look at the social issues that contribute towards young men joining gangs. The exhibition will act as a social campaign that looks at difficult social issues faced by the Cape Flats community as well as provide positive solutions to these very problems.