I own a shirt that says GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS, white writing in grey blocks positioned on top of one another. They’re just words after all, but if you say those three words fast enough and with some pep it elicits a chemical reaction that vibrates throughout your body and causes a little tingle in your mind. There’s no reason for it.

When I saw that from the 5th to the 24th of May the Kalashnikovv Gallery would be exhibiting works by visual artist Jana Hamman titled “GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!” I was nothing short of intrigued. They gave nothing away apart from the flyer that was bursting with neon glow. I’m not known for escapades to art galleries, but because I’m pretty familiar with the city of Joburg I have slowly but surely endeavoured to consume everything about the city that I live in.

I’d never been to the Kalashnikovv but had heard a lot about it. It’s a gallery that the owners want to make accessible to everyone; that no one should feel sheepish about visiting and taking in the art in a comfortable environment. Ambient electronics were playing overheard as I entered; the first thing I saw was the sculpture positioned in the middle of the gallery, taking up the space but not robbing it of emotion. As I moved around curiously I immediately gauged the pattern of the installation.

“GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!”, from my uneducated perspective, is a fun concept piece where bright pinks, purples, blues, reds, yellows collide in different patterns and shapes. The radiant art pieces, shapes of vivid, luminous colour blending into one another, are a throwback to a life full of imagination and late nights, dancing to a discodelic rhythm. If you stare into the works deeply enough you’ll surely find the meaning in the message, but what it reminded me of is either the remains or a revival of disco. The colours collide and each piece is signed off with a kiss by the seductively named Tiffanys, Lolas, Bridgets and other uniquely named females.

It didn’t feel as though I had to force myself to understand the art or confront my own psychology to draw meaning from it, and for this reason I thought it succeeded. The silver disco ball and dancing shoes sitting unassumingly in the corner, glitter scattered over their remains like confetti at a wedding … the end of one life path and the beginning of another … was a funky touch. 

by Daniel McCaughtry
In the luminous, neon glow tones you'll find the remnants of disco dancing.


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