Nelson Mandela Square unveils immersive art exhibition, a collaboration Between Nelson Mandela Square, Anton Smit, “Mars” and the Artyli Gallery
By Underground Press
Published Tuesday, 25 July 2023 15:03
Johannesburg, 25 July 2023: Beloved retail and dining hotspot Nelson Mandela Square, is enticing art enthusiasts with yet another reason to visit the popular piazza. A new art exhibition titled Urban Echoes has been unveiled in the Square, immersing visitors in a captivating fusion of emblematic sculptures, vibrant colour, and captivating artistic expressions. Crafted by world-renowned sculptor, Anton Smit, in collaboration with graffiti artist George Kalapov “Mars”, and Artyli Gallery, it’s a first for Johannesburg and the county.
Imagine a juxtaposition of eight large heads, each three meters tall, transformed into a street art-inspired painting. Each viewpoint alters the individually painted heads, which resembles Johannesburg’s urban fabric and changes the sculptures into a painted landscape. When viewed as a collective, the completed collection resembles a large mural depicting “Life in Jo’burg,” in a way never seen before.
“The idea for this artwork originated many years ago with my fascination with the Easter Island heads. The heads are at first monolithic stone heads – a modern version of the Easter Island heads, like messengers from a forgotten past. Then, they take a quantum leap into the future by being transformed into street art with cool contemporary faces painted on them, giving them a brand-new identity relating to the city and city life. An urban landscape of the City of Gold – proclaiming a message to the future – one of enhanced creativity and freedom. A message of life in abundance, a message of inspired children who enter boldly into this world” said Anton Smit.
The Urban Echoes collection complements the Colossal exhibition, Smit’s collection of mesmerising pieces that transformed the Square into an open-air gallery with over twenty sculptures, last year, most of which are still on exhibit.
Nelson Mandela Square is home to over 70 exclusive retail outlets and restaurants, many of which are unique in the country. Whether you’re in the mood for a good South African steak, the most generous Greek platters, the best local or French wine, real Mediterranean cuisine, or leisurely cups of creamy Italian coffee, you will find it at Nelson Mandela Square.
"We're delighted to host the Urban Echoes Exhibition at Nelson Mandela Square," shares Brian Unsted, Nelson Mandela Square's Asset Manager. "Anton Smit and Mars's remarkable collaboration brings elegance and sophistication, complementing the Square’s splendid ambiance," he added.
The Urban Echoes exhibition at Nelson Mandela Square, in collaboration with Artyli, will be available to view into 2024. There is no charge to view the exhibition.
*Exhibition dates and details are subject to change.
For more information on the Sculptures, kindly contact Artyli on 078 648 8221 or