Public Space Goes Digital

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) together with Nedbank are celebrating 20-years of supporting arts, culture and heritage projects in South Africa.

In celebration of ACT and South Africa’s 20-years of democracy, Nedbank made an additional amount of R250,000 available for arts and culture projects taking place across the country during 2014. One of the projects benefiting from this contribution is “Public Space Goes Digital: Hair Confessions” by Jessica Foli.

“Hair is something that is part of our everyday lives whether you are male or female. This work was inspired by the various responses I have received about my hair. The way people respond to my hair varies, some people love it, and some people look at me strangely. Then this made me think that there must be other people with similar stories to tell,” Foli explains.

Foli’s latest exhibition entitled “Hair Confessions” is an interactive installation about a regular issue that we all relate to – hair. The idea behind her exhibition is to enlighten and encourage acceptance in one’s self, through both an online portal and physical portal – both of which are public. By sharing this with the public, these issues take on a different meaning and the complexities of self-awareness are shared. She has taken the traditional gallery space into the digital realm, expanding its reach, and changing its purpose, by creating an online platform for the exhibition – being twitter and a website – this can be seen as the ‘third’ exhibition space, the other two being held at the Wits Art Museum (WAM).

The exhibition will comprise of a confessions wall, which is made up of canvas frames converted into light boxes. The canvases only light up when people get closer to the confession wall.  The idea is that as people confess their hair issues, through the online platforms, these will be added to the wall, and the wall will grow over time, and perhaps its meaning will change.

ACT Chief Executive Officer, Pieter Jacobs comments on this project: “The interactive and innovative nature of this project makes it the perfect fit for the ACT Professional Development Programme, which is targeted at the development of new cutting-edge South African work. We are extremely excited to see the project unfold.”

The exhibition opens on 17 September to 2 November 2014 at WAM, and from that date it will expand and change as the public interact with it, as Foli says: “The idea behind Hair Confessions is to encourage people to share stories and experiences (both good and bad) that they have had with their hair. The idea is that people will share their hair confession on twitter via my twitter page: @HairStoriesZA using #hairstoriesZA. As people share their hair confessions they will be added to the hair confessions wall. This will be done on a weekly basis – depending on the number of confessions received.”

Since 1994, Nedbank made more than R15 million available through the Nedbank Arts Affinity Programme, contributing substantially to the R21 million the Trust disbursed to more than 800 arts, culture and heritage projects over the past 20 years.



The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) is South Africa’s premier independent arts, culture and heritage funding and development agency, and celebrates 20 years of existence in 2014. The ACT Professional Development Programme is supported by Nedbank Arts Affinity. For more information visit


The Nedbank Arts Affinity Programme includes a range of products that Nedbank clients can choose from. Every time they use their accounts (to save, invest or transact), Nedbank donates to the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT), at no cost to clients. Since the inception of ACT in 1994, Nedbank has donated nearly R15 million to support more than 800 South African arts, culture and heritage development projects. To open a Nedbank Arts Affinity account visit any Nedbank branch or call 0860 DO GOOD (36 4663). For more information please visit


Wits Art Museum (WAM) is home to an extraordinary collection of African art, including contemporary and historical art from South Africa and art from West and Central Africa. It hosts a dynamic program of events and art exhibitions. The Museum is one of Johannesburg’s premier tourist attractions, along with the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill. It is part of the Wits University Cultural Precinct, just three blocks from Nelson Mandela Bridge. WAM is in the hip, regenerating area of Braamfontein, which is also home to many students, interesting shops and places to eat. The WAM Cafe is a fun place to meet friends and enjoy delicious food and coffee.


Jessica Foli has exhibited her work at the Turbine Art Fair as well as the Joburg Fringe this year. Her artworks have also been on display at exhibitions such as the 2010 Absa L’Atelier Awards at the Absa Art Gallery, Johannesburg. In the same year her works were part of the Oppitafel Exhibition, at the ArtSpace Gallery, Johannesburg. Her artwork was also selected to be part of the 2012 Dak’Art Biennale. Currently she works as a freelance artist and teaches part-time. Foli, boasts a Masters Degree in Digital Arts specialising in Interactive Media, a Bachelor degree in Fine Art majoring in Sculpture and a Major in Drama specialising in Choreography and Dance Performance.

Author: PR Officer

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