Joff opens 'When We Were There' exhibition

Port Elizabeth graffiti artist and musician meditates on life through his paintings

“This series is a meditation: on illness, on unwelcome experiences with death, on the relative insignificance of human beings on a grand universal scale, and on how all of this makes it that much more important to treat each other with care,” Port Elizabeth artist Steven “Joff” Carter says of the artworks that make up his newly opened exhibition, When We Were There.
Bay art lovers and supporters of the painter, whose graffiti art adorns several public spaces in the Bay, are afforded the opportunity to tap into his inner thoughts at this solo exhibition at Gallery Ark (Inside Ark Furniture Works) at the corner of Alabaster Street and Upper Valley Road in the Baakens Valley.
The two-week exhibition, which opened to the public on Wednesday November 7, is a take on thoughts the artist went through during and while recovering from an illness that saw his doctor declare he did not have much time to live.
“I was in bed for a year and it took quite a while for things to get back to normal. “This is kind of a round-up of how your view on life changes when you get a second chance,” Carter said.
Though he is reluctant to dwell on the illness that nearly broke him about six years ago, he said the series of works was inspired by that dark period, which opened his eyes to other perspectives on life.
The near-death experience prompted him to focus on spending his life doing things he loved, and so he quit his day job to focus on painting and making music.
Over a period of four years Carter put together the series and wrote music, which the public will get a taste of at the musical instalment of the exhibition on Tuesday November 13 at Remo’s Italian, also in the Baakens Valley.
“I wrote some music at the same time, but the music is more literal in storytelling because it’s in words.
“Neither the words nor the music is a replacement for the other, but the two are linked because they were inspired by the same event and created at the same time,” Carter.
He will perform with his band, Joff and The Cults.
While the artist expresses himself through his many talents, it is important to him that his work is not confined to what it means to him, but open to the public’s interpretation.
“I don’t mind if people don’t know – and often I don’t tell people – the meanings of my painting because I’d rather they get a feeling from it and get their own meaning,” he said.
When We Were There is open for viewing until November 21 from 10am to 7pm on weekdays and from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays. A limited number of tickets for the music show at 7pm on Tuesday cost R80 on

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