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Johannesburg City Bytes : City Bytes / Art

Prince of Newtown 's Studio

30 years in Newtown brings a lot of inspiration to this artist's space

Irreverent in demeanour and pinned to the cultural wall as the hallmark of all things eccentric in Newtown (if not the entire Joburg Metropolis), this dreadlocked pocket of energy registers as the Prince of Newtown. He's also fondly known as uMthakathi by many; a moniker that evokes African alchemy and witchery. His studio at Unity Gallery in the Bus Factory complements these notions of sorcery by donning raw-leather clothing, Gizmo-like hats and interesting pieces of jewellery.

Prince of Newtown has revelled in Newtown for 30 odd years and is granted institution status by the precinct's co-habitants from restaurant owners to Rastafarian tribes 'bonging' it up at the park. His studio is testimony of the interactions he has had with Newtown over the years. He effortlessly points at various objects that he has designed for well-known actors and musicians; some elaborate and others twinkling with unexpected sophistication.

In a solo exhibition scheduled for the 3rd of March, the studio will be transformed into spatial installations of the work he has recently been toiling over. This exhibition also serves as homage to the landscape he's called home for 30 years. He will be exhibiting his two of his jewellery ranges, namely street and luxury. This also includes the Mthakathi range, which is all things bizarre such as clothing made from goat hide.

The Prince's influence in Newtown runs deep and can be seen in many an artist wearing rings, earrings and bracelets all carved from his lair cum studio. His signature of using recycled metal and cutlery is distinct despite a flurry of plagiarism from other quarters trying to emulate him.

His irreverence makes him a deserving candidate to be etched as a memorable figure in Joburg's history tablets.

Unity Gallery
3 President Street, Bus Factory,

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