My initial excitement over the Chinese-Johannesburg in-depth project came to an end after I realised my initial feature idea would require six months to realise.
I wanted to examine the culture of doing business within the Chinese-Johannesburg community and my multi-media would chronicle a Chinese owned tattoo parlour.
This proved problematic on two fronts: there were no Chinese owned tattoo parlours in the greater Johannesburg area (none that I could track down) and most business owners in the Chinese-Johannesburg community weren’t interested in talking trade secrets with students. This forced me to re-think my strategy.
Art! Art would save my life. Since my theme was “community and culture”, art related to both community and culture. Now the only problem was the fact that I know absolutely nothing about art.
A tour of old Chinatown on Commissioner street in Johannesburg and Cyrildene helped me slightly focus my new art theme. In one day, we saw Chinese-inspired architecture in Cyrildene. Most buildings were written in Chinese calligraphy which in itself is a form of art. I found out there were four main different types of calligraphy. We also saw an old terragame structure and terragame pigeons. We also saw a Chinese dragon sculpture where old Chinatown used to be.
We went into a local Chinese shop and found traditional Chinese fans, tea cups and lanterns. By the end of the day, I was convinced traditional Chinese art in Johannesburg would be central to my photo journalism essay.