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Pretoria's Art Legacy - Public art commissioned for new BRT A Re Yeng stations
by Marilyn de Freitas posted on June 11, 2015.

Banele Khoza's The steel tree (2014) situated at the General G.L. Pitso station
(Courtesy of Mathews & Associates Architects)

Art's publicness creates a means for interaction with audiences and extends opportunities for community engagement. New artworks by Pretoria's artists has been commissioned for the new Tshwane bus rapid transit (BRT) stations which bring to light important social and historical elements of Pretoria.

The A Re Yeng system, operational since December 2014, consists of 80 kilometres of bus lines. Pieter Mathews, from Mathews & Associates Architects, is the curator of the artworks at all 62 stations along the two main routes. Mathews states the collection is representative of the caliber of artists in Pretoria with a blend of well known international artists and emerging young artists. The artworks are placed on the top section of 10,9m 'vertical element' columns and can be viewed from all angles.

Diane Victor's The History Column (2014) situated at the Nana Sita station
(Courtesy of Mathews & Associates Architects)

The artworks are site specific and inspired by the unique history of the area around the station, in particular, the indigenous natural environment, historical narratives and peoples. The collection embraces a variety of artforms from the traditional Ndebele patterns of Ester Mahlangu to Banele Khoza's The steel tree (2014), which is a homage to Pretoria's iconic Jacaranda tree. Diane Victor's The History Column (2014) comprises of mosaic portraits of resistance heroes such as Nana Sita as well as portraits of everyday people which the artist drew from the site.

Mathews states that the artworks will become an important part of Pretoria's art legacy. These artworks will add to our experience of Pretoria and its history and become part of our evolving culture and collective memory, states Mathews. Khoza believes it is a brilliant initiative where the visibility of the artworks will inspire and remind the public of the validity and importance of art in society.


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