Garth Walker: What does ‘being African’ look like?

What started out as a way of killing time while Garth Walker waited to hook his first clients at his then newly opened agency Orange Juice has turned into a 20-year long exploration of South African visual culture.

His experimental graphic design magazine, ijusi, is now in its 29th issue – and it is still a passion project for Walker, who believes the magazine gives graphic designers the opportunity for personal expression, free from client briefs or commercial imperatives.

The magazine is underpinned by a “if you don’t like it, tough” attitude that tackles issues, many of them taboo, in a subversive way. With themes that range from porn, religion and death to fear, photography and even Madiba, the cult rag has garnered a global following.

“I was trying to provide some guidelines, a roadmap, some inspiration to develop a new [visual] language that was based on the South African experience as a graphic designer. [I was trying] to say this was not a new visual language – it is heading towards a new language and we want you to join us in determining what that new language is and how we get there,” he explains at a recent walkabout of his exhibition ijusi – Toward a New Visual Language at Michaelis Gallery in Cape Town.

His wish, he says in our video interview with him, is to find a commercial way to make the magazine more of a mouthpiece for graphic designers to address pressing issues such as violence against women, HIV and unemployment.

View more inspiring videos like this one at hosts hundreds of videos of speaker presentations and interviews and world design news. Updated daily, its content features the most cutting-edge design thinking and the work and ideas of the world’s industry leaders in all the creative fields.

Design Indaba is a multi-tiered platform committed to a better world through creativity. Established in 1995 with its flagship conference, it has evolved into a multidisciplinary experience that now consists of the globally acclaimed annual Design Indaba Conference, Simulcast, Expo and FilmFest, as well as a host of parties, performances, training workshops, design projects, community initiatives and publications.

Likes: 6

Viewed: 1615