SA’s Dirty Laundry: A Must-see Exhibition in Maboneng

by | Nov 27, 2016 | Arts and Culture, Johannesburg, Museums and Buildings | 6 comments

Enough is enough.

SA Dirty Laundry underwear exhibitionDirty underwear hangs along Fox Street as part of the “SA’s Dirty Laundry: The Things We Do for Love” exhibition.

Yesterday I went to Maboneng to see an art exhibition that included thousands of pairs of dirty underwear draped over the streets.

Underwear in Maboneng

Underwear and building

Underwear in MabonengLots and lots of underwear, in all shapes and sizes.

I went mainly because I thought it would be cool to photograph so many pairs of underwear. And it was.

After wandering the streets for a while, I went into SoMa Art + Space, the gallery that is putting on this exhibition in recognition of the the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. There was a lot more dirty underwear in SoMa, as well as a group of women doing live performances.

SA's Dirty Laundry in SoMa

I never said yes.It’s about more than underwear.

Exhibition at SoMa
Artwork at SoMa, created by my friend Gail Scott Wilson.

Live drawing at SoMaLive drawing.

I’m not going to try to describe the women’s performances because I know I can’t. I can describe my reaction though: I cried.

I cried for the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of women and girls who are sexually assaulted in South Africa — and the world — every year. I cried for the other women (maybe even some men) around me who were also crying. I cried for my 13-year-old self, who looked in the mirror and hated what she saw. I cried for my 16-year-old self, who did things with boys that she didn’t really want to do but did them anyway because she wanted to be loved. I cried for my 37-year-old self, who experienced emotional abuse and lost a partner to addiction. I cried for a friend who is losing her baby. I cried for my boyfriend who just lost his father — something I’ve wanted to blog about for many days but can’t seem to do because it’s too painful.

I cried as I held my camera to my eye.

Woman artist and flowers

Woman performing at SoMa

Woman performing at SoMa

Woman performing at SoMa

Woman performing at SoMa

When I finished crying I felt exhausted and free.

Go to this exhibition if you can, especially for the live performances. It runs until 4 December. The full schedule and list of artists is here.


  1. Gail Scott Wilson

    It’s been a very emotional journey for me, as I have discovered the scars/wounds/feelings/thoughts are still so very raw and I too have cried for many reasons. I’ve stayed away this weekend to relieve myself of some of those emotions and did some fun things.
    I’m all ready now to spend sometime at the gallery with big shoulders, however I do expect to weep some more. Great blog Heather thanks.

    • 2summers

      Thanks so much, Gail. Your artwork is beautiful.

  2. Gail Scott Wilson

    Thanks Heather

  3. catherine

    beautiful text , thank you…

  4. autumnashbough

    I’m crying, too, because of all you said and the fact that our President-Elect assaulted women and now his supporters think that this is OKAY. 🙁

    • 2summers

      Yeah, I almost added that in too.



  1. How Does Art Bring About Change? My Personal Experience of the “SA’s Dirty Laundry” Art Initiative | brendaloukes Artworks - […] Read a heartfelt response to the exhibition by an American living in Joburg. […]

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