Arts, Culture & Heritage

Pen of Knowledge

Last Updated: January 25, 2024
Artist

Sibusiso Mthembu and Sabelo Mthembu

A Brief History

The sculpture was part of the JDA’s investment in public art since 2003, and relates to the cluster of educational facilities in Braamfontein.

The brief for the sculpture was open-ended, but it had to relate to travel, as the location is near Park Station, on the corner of Biccard and Leyds streets. The Mthembus – the name Mthembus is derived from the brother’s surname - Sabelo designs and constructs wooden furniture and Sibusiso is an architect – brainstormed their idea, and discussed why people move, says Sabelo.

(Featured picture taken  by Mark Straw)

Description

The artwork is made of concrete and wood. It is a 3,5m tall structure with a solid round concrete base and a pointed nib. The concrete base has nine radials projecting from it, representing the nine provinces, and people moving between the provinces.

The sculpture, consisting of interlaced, plaited teak, a very robust material, is tilted at an angle, specifically created to elicit interest in passers-by.

Artists’ Concept:
“We saw the pen as something that symbolizes knowledge. It is a universal, tangible and accessible item that is associated with knowledge,” says Sabelo Mthembu.“

When asked why they chose the pen, Sabelo answers:

“We tried to achieve something not too partisan, something timeless, something to show that knowledge and education are important.”
He was aware that passers-by were intrigued by the structure as it rose from the pavement. As it neared completion, they began to recognise it as a pen, and proclaimed it to be a “beautiful object”, he adds.

“We got the reaction we wanted.”

The structure is tilted at an angle, specifically created to elicit interest in passers-by. “if it was vertical, it could be anything, but at an angle, it stands out. You wonder what it is”

Artwork Signage

The sculpture was part of the JDA’s investment in public art since 2003, and relates to the cluster of educational facilities in Braamfontein.

The brief for the sculpture was open-ended, but it had to relate to travel, as the location is near Park Station, on the corner of Biccard and Leyds streets. The Mthembus – the name Mthembus is derived from the brother’s surname - Sabelo designs and constructs wooden furniture and Sibusiso is an architect – brainstormed their idea, and discussed why people move, says Sabelo.

(Featured picture taken  by Mark Straw)

Location & Address

Corner Biccard & Leyds Str, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2017