100 Beautiful Things inspired South Africa during lockdown
When we approached the V&A Waterfront at the start of South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown, with an idea to create an exhibition that would promote a spirit of hope and positivity during the global crisis, we were grateful that it jumped on board so enthusiastically. The project was perfectly aligned to the Waterfront’s commitment to support local creativity and entrepreneurship, and it gave us the opportunity to work with this conscious partner in a way that highlighted projects, products, ideas and experiences that are imbued with creative flair.
100 Beautiful Things became a four-and-a-half-month-long celebration of South Africa’s passion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week, online – while retail stores and entertainment centres were closed – we featured five things that ignite us with wonder, in areas ranging from sustainable or future-thinking design to creativity emerging from compassion. Many of the things we showcased are so embedded in South Africa’s narrative that they could not have been produced anywhere else on earth.
As our online exhibition neared completion, more and more stores began opening and the V&A Waterfront started to welcome visitors again, so we turned 100 Beautiful Things into a celebratory print exhibition for them. We placed images of the businesses and people we had been championing throughout the online campaign onto posters and placards and turned these into dynamic installations. This joyous exhibition, currently up at Victoria Wharf until November 2020, consists of five sections, each given a unique identity by one of the local illustrators and artists commissioned to be part of this uplifting project.
“By building such a positive campaign for the Waterfront, we’ve brought South Africans and the Waterfront’s online followers and neighbourhood visitors inspiring stories of local entrepreneurship, showing people how creativity really can make a difference to our nation and the lives of our people,” says Platform Creative Director Cathy O’Clery, who curated the exhibition. “By putting a spotlight on things that range even further than product or fashion design – which we showcased too – we brought attention to innovative ways in which South Africans are using creativity to produce better results in many traditional fields of work, from medicine to education.”
The creative vision championed by 100 Beautiful Things included a faster system for collecting medication from public-health clinics, home-compostable coffee pods, a collaboration giving beach vendors access to mobile pay points, a playful initiative combatting xenophobia in children and a company turning plastic bottles into luxury goods.
As we emerge from our stricter lockdown regulations, we at Platform wish everything of the best to our creative South African community. May your ideas and ingenuity bring you inventive approaches to seeing the world, and may you continue to make it a more inspiring place for us all.