I don’t just live my life, I create my life. And after almost a year of creating images reflecting my vision of the city and its inhabitants, I no longer just want to reflect the city, but create it. Just as I need to be an activist in my own life and my own identity to fully be alive, as an artist, I need to be an artivist, actively participating in the creation of the city I want to live in. Joburg is not just a city, it is my city; it is my home. And as an artivist it is not just a place I want to live in, but a place I actively want to participate in creating.The idea for #takingbackourcity was born out of my return to Joburg from my first real visit to Cape Town. My return to Jozi from CT shocked me with the everyday messages and symbols we Joburgers take for granted; the messages and symbols that shape the collective unconscious of our city and our people. The ‘Penis Enlargement’ posters that adorn every robot, electrical box and street pole were the most glaring example. I asked myself: what does this say about Joburg? what does this say about Joburgers?
We are a city obsessed with the power of the phallus; a presidency obsessed with the symbol and virility and representation of the phallus; a people whose penis size reflects its masculinity, whose masculinity reflects its identity. The effect of this overtly embodied and gendered mantra on our collective unconscious plays itself out in our lives daily.