johannesburg: where paradise grows

© goethe-institut johannesburg

ingrid lafleur is a detroit-based curator with a keen interest in the black american cultural legacy. lafleur has ralllied complex movements, a multidisciplinary art collective from her hometown, for an exhibition at goethe-institut's experimental project space goetheonmain in the heart of johannesburg. entitled where paradise grows, it's a reference to the asian paradise tree, an invasive non-indigenous flora of detroit, and used as a metaphor for contemporary colonization. quite ironically, the venue is situated in the rapidly gentrifying maboneng precinct, and aims to invite viewers to think more deeply about their own communities and share change-making ideas for their communities. according to lafleur detroit and johannesburg are surprisingly similar cities.

both have a majority black population, experience rapid urban renewal, and have transformed because of racial tensions that caused businesses and investors to leave for 'safer' areas. the show itself is a multi-media presentation that outlines the influences and ideas behind complex movements’ ongoing project and science-fiction parable of their creation beware of the dandelions. the show is an immersive setting built on the aesthetics of hiphop, and is embedded in a larger curatorial project by lafleur, called afrotopia' and which uses the arts movement afrofuturism as a tool for transformative education in detroit and elsewhere [on through aug 3]. location: goetheonmain, 245 main street [city + suburban].

© goethe-institut johannesburg