Unique “ijusi” design mag exhibition at NMMU

MAY 19, 2016

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Art Gallery, in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis Galleries, is opening its latest exhibition “ijusi – Design based in African Experience”, on May 23.

The exhibition focuses on Durban-based designer and publisher Garth Walker’s ijusi magazine (ijusi being isiZulu for “juice”), an experimental, non-commercial design magazine, which was recognised as one of the official World Design Capital 2014 projects in Cape Town. 

First published by Walker in 1995, the year after South Africa’s first democratic elections, ijusi encourages and promotes a visual design language rooted in South African experience.

Drawing from 29 issues of ijusi, from 1995 to 2014, the exhibition focuses on the question which ijusi has posed from the beginning: “What makes me African, and what does that ‘look’ like?”

Walker released the first issue of ijusi from his original Orange Juice Design studio in Durban, under the theme “Afrocentric Design Adventure”. Thinking it would be a one-off, it was designed solely by Walker, with all text written by Siobhan Gunning.

Its success led to a second issue – and, for the third, Walker invited both South African and international designers, writers and artists to contribute. Over the following years, subsequent themed issues have made invaluable contributions to the ongoing discourse surrounding representation and identity in South Africa, specifically within the contexts of graphic design, illustration, typography, writing and photography. From its onset, ijusi has effectively showcased a burgeoning South African visual culture, which has come to be recognized for its quality and diversity

Its issues from 1995 to 2014, the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, can be seen as a historic series of documents, testament to a developing country dealing with various socio-economic stratifications and political dimensions. With an often-satirical approach, ijusi offers a platform for discovery, highlighting the wealth of talent, rich traditions, and strong sense of heritage in South Africa.

Garth Walker founded Orange Juice Design in Durban in 1995, one of South Africa’s best-known graphic design studios and one of few with an international reputation. In 2008, Walker opened his new solo studio, Mister Walker. He has been widely recognised with over 100 design awards, including a Grand Prix at the Loeries, and has been published in at least 80 magazines and books. He is represented in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, Biblioteque Nationale de France, Victoria & Albert Museum, The Smithsonian, and numerous university and academic collections worldwide.

Exhibition Title: ijusi – Design based in African Experience

Exhibition Dates: 23 May – 9 June 2016

Official opening: 25 May 2016 at 18:00