Troyeville: Quirky Art-Lover’s Paradise

by | Nov 7, 2012 | Arts and Culture, Instagram, Johannesburg, Johannesburg City Centre, Tours | 4 comments

Update: I’m very sad to report that Lesley Perkes, the creator of the Troyeville Bedtime Story described below, passed away on 13 February 2015. This is absolutely terrible news, but the good news is that Lesley’s legacy (and her bed) will live on forever.

Last weekend I went on a “Meet the Artists” tour in Troyeville, led by Ishvara at Ancient Secrets. I’ve been on several of Ishvara’s tours before, including another tour of Troyeville. But the idea of visiting artists’ studios in this wacky part of town appealed to me, so I signed up.

Here’s a quick round-up of what I saw.

Ceramic bowls in progress in Peter Mthombeni’s cavernous Troyeville workshop. Peter sells his work at the Bryanston Organic Market — I met him there a few months ago.

Stunning (but slightly terrifying) lamp by lighting designer and metalworker Chevy Borchowsky.

Mirror by furniture designer Alan Epstein.

This has nothing to do with quirky Troyeville art. I just really like this photo of baby Xavier’s feet. Actually, these feet are tiny little works of art. Xavier was the youngest member of the tour group.

Troyeville has tons of beautiful graffiti.

After an hour or two of hard walking, we had a rest at the Spaza Gallery, which is my favorite spot in Troyeville. We went to the Spaza Gallery on the last Troyeville tour too, and I promised then to devote an entire post to it. I haven’t done so yet but it will happen, soon. In the meantime, here is an Instagram that I took there on Saturday.

Random artwork in the Spaza courtyard.

We met a few other artists whose work isn’t represented in the photos above. See my previous post for a shot of Winston Luthuli’s lovely cement statue. I also really enjoyed our visit to the home of painter Rosemary Joynt. Her garden is stunning, as are her paintings. Rosemary and her husband also gave us mint tea and biscuits, which prevented me from fainting from hunger and dehydration. I was so tired by that point in the walk that I forgot to take photos of Rosemary’s art.

I managed to revive myself when we reached the Troyeville Bedtime Story.

Artist Lesley Perkes, doing her thing on the Troyeville Bed. 

The Troyeville Bedtime story is a concrete bed, complete with rumpled duvet and pillows, built on the site of a rubbish heap in a city park along  Bezuidenhout St. It was created by Troyeville artists Lesley Perkes and Johannes Dreyer. The bed has its own blog.

When we got to the bed on Saturday afternoon, Lesley slumbered fitfully upon it in a pink silk nightgown. She tossed and turned, then woke up and angrily checked messages on her phone. She sat up in bed and read poetry aloud. We listened with rapt attention. Then Lesley did a brief Q&A.

Lesley reading, Instagrammed.

The bed is public art in its purest form. It’s a sculpture as well as a performance space. It’s designed to last forever, and to be used by anyone, for whatever purpose. This is now my favorite piece of art in the city. I will be back, possibly in pajamas. Read an informative post about the Troyeville Bedtime story by Laurice Taitz.

I took a turn on the bed. It was hard. But I liked it.

Photo: Christi Sa

Writing this post has made me tired. Night-night.


  1. tenneymason

    Love those baby’s feet

    • 2summers

      Yeah, that’s one cute baby.

  2. Kathryn McCullough

    Oh, what I wouldn’t do to have gone on that tour. I love seeing other artist’s studios. And that lamp! Wow! As stunning–as are the baby’s feet sweet.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Kathy! You would have enjoyed this.



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