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Finding our humanity and breaking barriers through artistic intervention

Finding our humanity and breaking barriers through artistic intervention

The global travelling exhibition Tolerance comes to Constitution Hill...

With the Mandela Centenary on the horizon the world is celebrating the principles lived by our great South African icon, former President Nelson Mandela, who inspired us to embrace each other and strive for a harmonious and prosperous future. On a global stage, tolerance is in short supply as nationalism, racism, extremism and xenophobia perpetuate historically entrenched divides across ethnicity, race and culture. We each have a role to play in challenging this mounting global threat that stifles conversation, stunts personal growth and diminishes the collaborative creative potential that drives our society forward.

“Tolerance” is the name and central theme of a touring collaborative art exhibition popping up around the globe that is a universal call for empathy and fortitude through art. The idea behind The Tolerance Travelling Poster Show is to spread a simple message of humanity and reach the maximum amount of people while requiring as little infrastructure as possible. Instead of the costly and stylized nature of traditional gallery spaces, this exhibition has been installed in shopping malls, open plazas, parks and other free access venues, making it accessible to a much broader audience.

The exhibition has appeared across continents, adding a new artist from each city in which it appears. So far, the show has been in Austria, Croatia, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Spain, USA, Holland, Turkey, Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova, with upcoming shows in Finland and Russia. As a pro bono expansion of this borderless artistic intervention, The Tolerance Travelling Poster Show will be showcased from 16 – 31 July 2018 in Johannesburg at Constitution Hill, section Number 4.

“A better world through creativity…”

Spearheaded by Bosnian designer and comic artist Mirko Ilić (who has worked as an art director for the New York Times and is best known for his radical political comics and illustrations), The Tolerance Travelling Poster Show invites prominent designers from around the world to create a poster by interpreting the word “Tolerance” in their own language, creating a body of work that is constantly evolving and growing in numbers as it commissions new artists. It always feels fresh and includes a large variety of cultures, backgrounds and genders.

The latest additions to “Tolerance” have been made by Art Chantry (an American graphic designer famous for posters and album covers for artists such as Mudhoney, Mono Men, Soundgarden and The Sonics) and Holger Matthies (a German poster designer with strong political messaging). On the local front, South African graphic designers Brandt Botes and Garth Walker have also made contributions, which will be on display at Constitutional Court and now form part of the global travelling exhibition.

The Tolerance exhibition was brought to South Africa via the Design Indaba, with Ilić being a former speaker on the world-renowned Design Indaba Conference programme. Other Design Indaba speakers who have work on the Tolerance exhibition include famous names like Milton Glaser (creator of the I ❤ NY logo), Edel Rodriguez (a Cuban-born American illustrator/artist and children’s book author) and Chaz Maviyana-Davies (a graphic designer and artistic agitator whose work pushes the boundaries of social justice).

The South African leg of the exhibition kicked off in February 2018 at the Design Indaba Festival in Cape Town before travelling to the KZNSA Gallery in Durban. The local leg of the exhibition is project-managed by the not-for-profit Design Indaba Trust. When the exhibition closes, the posters will be donated to the design department of a local tertiary institution. Visitors to Constitution Hill can gain free access to the exhibition by citing the word “tolerance” at the main entrance reception desk.

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