national Arts Festival Banner

Thursday, October 30, 2014


(Anti-clockwise from front to left: Graff artist TymeZ9, singers, (behind) Young African Dream of Mindcoast ISA, Zola of Goodfellaz, singer, Mr Bring the Swagg to the People (Mindcoast ISA), animator Thabo Jackson Ntuli and #RedEyeDurban creative director, Suzy Bell. Pic by Val Adamson)
Initiator and creative director of Red Eye Durban, Suzy Bell, is bringing back Red Eye to Durban every first Friday of the month from November 7.

It is coming to the cultural precinct of Khuzimpi Shezi Road in Umbilo at The Bakery.

“There is a beautiful big fat building on the top floor of a bakery, just across the road from acclaimed artist Andries Botha’s art studios and opposite the iconic Sugar Terminals on Durban’s harbour in downtown Umbilo. This historic building was home to the Durban Rickshaw Pullers where they originally set-up shop in the early 1900s and the original traditional Zulu Beer Hall is in nearby Dalton Road. It’s a culturally historical and wonderful culturally-diverse community for Red Eye Durban,” said Suzy Bell, cultural activist and creative director of the revival of this highly successful multi-media art-soaked project.

“I’ve called the venue The Bakery, as they are literally baking bread below and we above on the top floor will be cooking up an art night of crunching live original bands, fashion, graphic art, comics, live graff-bombing, jewellery, poetry, digital films, performance art, fire art and installations as Red Eye Durban,” said Bell.

Red Eye, a legendary arts project born in Durban originally took place at the Durban Art Gallery back in 1998 which attracted record crowds flocking to the gallery to celebrate art.

For the upcoming relaunch of Red Eye Durban on November 7, Bell says we can expect a celebration of art and music with: “Crunching hip-hop heads, Mindcoast ISA from Equatorial New Guinea, sublimely talented brothers, and then we’re switching it up to one of my truly favourite new live bands, The Sisters (of famed Black Math) who tease that they are ‘messy Garage-Stoner’ grooves. They are so fresh and original. I am loving the super-sonic all-girl band, The Volsunga Saga who will perform and there’s the beautiful voice of Abigael Thompson and her band, Gugz & The Bam Bam to chilled soft-foot shuffles and isiZulu lullabies with SATMA isicathamiya nominees, The Kholwa Brothers.”

Bell says it will get further: “flicked up” with electro-salsa “and all that is fabulous about track from talented Loud Lungs to electro-glitch with DJ Raws to hip-hop bombing from MVSTVBV to the talents of Durban hip-hop crews like Amaguyz and The Goodfellas.”

For Red Eye Performance Art, there’s a wry and funny with a dark edge performance with Mr Skaireeeee (Sibo Masondo) devised and styled by Durban theatre legend, Gisele Turner. Bell says there’s fresh comic art with Red Eye Youth from the up-and-coming talents of: “Findlay ‘Rapscallion’ Atkinson, a 12-year-old gaming dub-step freak and originator of geek-chic producing insanely sick Behemoth comics and famed comic artist, Deon Lange with his brilliant science fiction UO Comics. They will both exhibit and sell at Red Eye Durban.”

There will be live graff-bombing by the talents of Red Eye Graffiti’s Trent Sukdeo, Zukho Ghu and Dustin Scott (DustedInk), a live light painting installation by Natasha Jacobs and her light painting of artworks on exhibit and there’s photography and graphic art for sale by DustedInk, Sipho Sondezi, Suzy Lightning and Afreecan Concepts. There’s kick-ass love-punk poetry by Richard McGovern and soulful spoken word from emerging poetess, Noma Mkhize and arty T-shirts and jewellery on sale from the Kente-cloth goddess, Siyasanga Tundzi. There’s fashion photography by the emerging talent of the spunky Given Radebe and digital films and video installations.”

The original arts model of Red Eye was conceived in 1998 in Durban as a creative concept of an experimental and new arts model to attract a wider and more culturally diverse audience in South Africa post-independence. It was creatively directed by cultural activist and arts journalist, Suzy Bell who worked with the former Durban Art Gallery (DAG) director, Carol Brown, now an independent arts consultant and curator.

Bell’s idea essentially was for it to be a monthly full-on multi-media, culturally-diverse arts experience taking place in one space, on one night only. Durban as a creative centre, the artists and the Durban Art Gallery through Red Eye was placed firmly on the national and international cultural map. Red Eye and has since travelled as a creative concept around the country as arts collectives create their own versions of Red Eye. Internationally, there is now a Red Eye art festival in Chicago and Fort Lauderdale. The Red Eye concept has attracted attention from gallery owners in other countries, including the UK and Norway.

“The aim now is to further stimulate Durban’s creative community and our creative industry as a key contributor, long term, to Durban’s creative economy by using Red Eye Durban as a vehicle to do so,” said Bell. “In 2015 we want to run creative and arts marketing workshops under Red Eye mentors and then create a Red Eye App as a tool to market ourselves professionally. And yes, I would love to ultimately take Red Eye Durban as a core arts collective on tour to arts festivals around our continent and share Durban’s talent and the concept. The idea is to empower and enrich young emerging artists to create their own creative projects, brand more professionally and generally offer a higher standard of art as merchandise to the buying public,” she added.

“Durban, together with numerous arts activations happenings in the city whether at the Durban Art Gallery, or the Beer Hall in Rivertown with a new Heritage Festival, to Morrison Street’s Morning Market to downtown Umbilo with Red Eye Durban, to UKZN’s Poetry Africa to cultural activations at the KZNSA, to The Point, in Umlazi, KwaMashu Arts Centre, to the Stamford Hill precinct with their wonderful Open Plan arts concept and more, will actively work towards Durban becoming one of the most creative and liveable cities in the world. Durban has a phenomenal cultural heritage and bristling cultural diversity which deserves respect and to be celebrated through strategic and synergistic arts activation through a long term visionary concept such as Red Eye Durban together, of course, with a host of cultural projects conceived by key cultural players in our beautiful creative city of Durban,” added Bell.

RedEyeDurban takes place on November 7 from 18h00 to midnight at The Bakery, 106 Khuzimpi Shezi, formerly Williams Road. Tickets: R100 or R100 at the door (R80 students with card). Children 12 and under enjoy free entrance. Family-friendly time is 18h00 to 20h00. Early bird parking for 80 vehicles inside. Security provided. Food on sale and The Winston run a cash bar.

For more info online: Facebook: RedEyeDurban Twitter: @RedEyeDurban Google Plus: RedEyeDurban Instagram: RedEyeDurban Artists may send their artist bios for future Red Eye Durban participation or to become a member to:

Directions: Taxi: The Workshop catch Umbilo 7 taxi. Hop off on Blake Road, walk down towards the Harbour, turn right into Khuzimpi Shezi, formerly Williams Road and The Bakery is 20 metres down on the RHS 
 To see a quick YouTube clip of Durban's Redeye visit