As part of Constitution Hill’s Creative Uprising program, studios have been made accessible for those in the creative economy. After a thorough selection process 17 new tenants have taken up residence in the Transwerke Building. In time, the building will be reenergised to fulfil the need for a new creative hub in the Johannesburg. One of the newly onboarded residents is the Bubblegum Club. The company opened in 2015 as a ‘cultural intelligence agency’. The initial aim was to provide analysis to help corporate clients interpret and connect with South African youth culture. But as they rapidly received positive feedback about their original visuals and content, their name and reputation quickly grew beyond this initial mandate, leading to the 2016 establishment of their digital magazine. This platform has become an indispensable source of information on some of the most innovative young artists and performers in South Africa.
Bubblegum Club recently celebrated 5 years in digital publishing and as they look forward to the next 5 years their purpose is shifting. Over the next few months and years, they would like to create even stronger connections with creators and audiences on the African continent. Bubblegum Club would also like to strengthen their capacity to support independent cultural production and creative communities by growing our existing platforms and initiatives as well as developing new ones focused on education, skills development, events, exhibition, and archiving.
As a business and now having a gallery/residency studio space at Constitution Hill, Bubblegum Club sees ConHill as a vital presence in Johannesburg’s creative scene. Events such as the annual Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival and Human Rights festival hosted at Constitution Hill, provide platforms for artists to showcase their work while initiatives such as the conversion of the Transwerke building into subsides studios provides long term and sustainable support for artists practices. “Our new gallery and residency space which is in the Transwerke building would not be possible without ConHill’s support and over time we hope to work closer with ConHill to launch further initiatives and partnerships with ConHill, specifically in the Transwerke building to create more opportunities and income for artists” says Jamal Nxedlana, Co-founder & Creative Director at Bubblegum Club.
Jamal acknowledges Constitution Hill as one of the most significant places in the country, and for them the space is a pillar of democracy and social justice. “Being based there is a great responsibility but also a privilege.” He hopes that being based at ConHill will create even stronger engagement between government and the creative economy in South Africa.
During their residency, they aim to platform, expose, and develop the careers of emerging artists through opportunities to make and sell work while at the same time exploring and piloting the creation of an art exhibition and retail model outside of the traditional gallery system.
There are a lot of challenging elements of being a small creative business and the biggest challenge for Bubblegum Club is having access to decision makers and opportunities to work and gain experience in their field.
To find out more about Bubblegum Club and to keep up with the latest, visit their website, sign up to the newsletter and follow their social media channels for news on how to support the artists they will be working with in 2021.
Facebook: @bubblegumclubbb- https://www.facebook.com/bubblegumclubbb
Twitter: @bubblegumclubbb- https://twitter.com/bubblegumclubbb
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