[Creation Date and Location: 12 March 2021, Sasol Andrews Service Station, Harvey Road, Bloemfontein]
Unlike the ever-changing climate of the City of Roses (Bloemfontein), the protective spirit of the city (Genus Loci) remains the same. It is holding on to its old traditions and systems of operations, in other words, the same events are repeating themselves.
A strike broke out in 2017 at the University of the Free State, in which students were arrested for fighting for their right to learn in a higher education institution. On 11 March 2021, the Rector Prof. Peterson made a public announcement, explaining how his students had to be harassed, fired at and thrown with smoke bombs by our so-called public protectors; “the South African Police Services”, as they (the students that had come from far across the country, and are meant to pay thousands of Rands for a basic higher education at the institution) were disrupting traffic flow on Nelson Mandela Avenue.
From my perspective they (the institution) is protecting the “company”, rather than the right to free education as mentioned in the Freedom Charter which the corporate forgot about about two years ago.
On the other hand, artists born and bred in this city and who are immersed in the art culture of Bloemfontein, not mentioning Free State, North West, and South Africa as a whole, look the same as they did two years ago. The struggle was the key narrative in most, if not all artistic concepts found in Bloemfontein’s art. Having worked with a lot of different artists (well-known and unknown) in different art forms in the roughly seven years that I have spent in this city, it has always been clear in their (artists) eyes that something is not right with the art culture.
Despite the great food (the reflection of the city) these struggling artists prepared and served the little they have, the general public did not understand the meal they were being served, in other words Bloemfontein still does not understand its artists and art.
The people of this wonderful city don’t care or don’t want to care for their roses (creatives). Money has always been the topic of strikes within the art industry of Bloemfontein. On the 11th of March 2021 from 14:00 until 16:00 artists across all art forms took a stand at PACOFS trying to get their voices heard with regards to the promises of relief funds, art projects and artists funding’s since May 2020.
BloemCity Vibes_21 is meant to reflect this un-change, showing the viewer the iconic power towers with an un-changing flow of its weather (the clouds). When the digital layer is activated, the clouds move and the city stays still. In simple context; “we have all four seasons in a day, however the city is not changing to support its creatives and academics”.