First Thursdays at Keyes Art Mile

29 Feb 2024
For the first Thursday of March (Mar 7 from 17:00) there's no better place to be than the vibrant Keyes Art Mile.

On the art front, look out for Origin Art's new group show Through Different Lenses and see just-graduated talent in Kids These Days in the Atrium/Annex. BKhz Gallery hosts the dreamlike work of Bahati Simoens for Sunset Market, while Portuguese South African artists come together for Visual Echoes at Gallery 1.

Stephen Milborrow's fantastic Portrait Drawing Machine is still installed at Keyes; go see it in action and get your portrait magically drawn by an otherworldly machine. The regular Unlocking Your Collection event at Origin Art is your entry into the wonderful world of art collecting, plus their Art Quiz kicks off again officially.

As always, Keyes has food and drinks aplenty. Freshly Ground has an expanded menu and now boasts a fully licensed bar. The Prawnery is open – book here – or try their sister restaurant Kanpai where the glam selfie crowd hangs out sipping on good cocktails. Round the night off with a DJ set at MIX Cocktail Bar.

Keep reading for the details.

Sunset Market

Joburg-based, Belgian-Congolese artist Bahati Simoens opens a new solo exhibition at BKhz Gallery in what she describes as a "re-introduction" to her whole self that will allow the viewer to reacquaint themselves with her work. "My practice started as a form of self-therapy where I just wanted to create this little fantasy world where there are only black people. I wanted black people to feel seen so my practice also became a love letter to the black body," Simoens says. The artist's surreal, dreamlike style exaggerates the physical, spiritual, and emotional presence of her subjects, whose inscrutably small heads seek to eschew the ego of the mind.
Surreal figures strike a pose in Bahati Simoens' Sunset Market. Photo: BKhz Gallery.

Portrait Drawing Machine

Sit pretty for Stephen Milborrow's Portrait Drawing Machine, a unique convergence of AI and portraiture. Programmed to draw stylised pen portraits, the machine represents the forefront of AI's capability to mimic and extend human artistic skill. Wherever you land when it comes to questions around AI and its creative potential, Milborrow's work is a fun and thought-provoking way to engage with it. Head to Origin Art to get your likeness captured.

The Portrait Drawing Machine creates pen portraits much like a human artist. Photo: Stephen Milborrow.

Through Different Lenses

Origin Art's new group exhibition Through Different Lenses features nine artists who share their fresh views of the world around them through various mediums, concepts, and, ultimately, different lenses. The show celebrates the various ways in which artists see the world, interpret it, question it, and engage with it, prompting the viewer to explore, understand, and reflect on their own world and the worlds of those around them.

Work by Ntate Phakela for Through Different Lenses. Photo: Supplied.
Work by Ntate Phakela for Through Different Lenses. Photo: Supplied.

Kickstart your art collection

Discover masterpieces that won't break the bank with Unlocking Your Collection at Origin Art. There'll be quality art to suit every pocket across a range of mediums and styles, with nothing over R5,000. In addition to the diverse collection on show, this is a chance to engage with the artists themselves and discover the stories behind the works that speak to you. There'll also be practical tips and tricks for beginning and growing your art collection. In the often intimidating world of art, Unlocking Your Collection is a deliberate step towards welcoming art lovers of all levels into the fold.

Find art that wont break the bank with Unlocking Your Collection. Photo: Origin Art.

Visual Echoes

A group exhibition at Keyes Art Mile's Gallery 1 celebrates Portuguese heritage in South Africa through the eyes of seven artists living and working in the country.

Art Quiz

Origin Art hosts another wonderfully engaging Art Quiz, a super way to test your art knowledge. Bring the best of what you know and some quality friends who can tell their Impressionism from their Abstraction. It's loads of fun and there are great prizes to be won. RSVP for your team here.

Test your art chops at Origin Art's next Art Quiz. Photo: Origin Art.
Test your art chops at Origin Art's next Art Quiz. Photo: Origin Art.

Kids These Days

Discover the new kids on Joburg's art block in Kids These Days, a showcase of recent graduates whose work is as fresh as it is conceptually and visually diverse. Head to the Atrium/Annex of the Trumpet Building to see work by the city's young artists to watch. 
Meet the next generation of contemporary artists in Kids These Days. Photo: Keyes Art Mile.
Meet the next generation of contemporary artists in Kids These Days. Photo: Keyes Art Mile.

Easy beats at MIX Cocktail Bar

Once you've caught up with all of the Keyes art offerings, head upstairs to MIX Cocktail Bar at MESH Club for fancy cocktails and a good time, with a live DJ set. 
Always great sounds at Keyes Art Mile's MIX Cocktail Bar. Photo: MESH Club.
Always great sounds at Keyes Art Mile's MIX Cocktail Bar. Photo: MESH Club.

Where to eat and drink

While art is front and centre at First Thursdays, you certainly won't be leaving hungry given all that Keyes has to offer on the dining front. Start with oysters and bubbles at Japanese fusion restaurant Kanpai, then move to The Prawnery for your mains. Book via Dineplan. Freshly Ground has an expanded menu, and now serves drinks. For a tried and true favourite, add tasty Asian street food to the line-up at Momo Kuro on the top floor of the Trumpet building, or try the ramen at Momo's street-level store. Unwind with sunset drinks at Marble (also in the swanky Trumpet building), and if soft serve is your thing, head down the parking lot stairs to The Pantry. At just 18 bucks a pop, you'll be glad we told you.

Giant tiger prawns at The Prawnery. Photo: The Prawnery.

Still in the mood for art? Click here for all the exhibitions you need to see this week.


Keyes Art Mile is a short drive from the Rosebank Gautrain station. See our guide to the Gautrain here and download the Gautrain app for real-time updates on when the next Gautrain and Gautrain midi-bus is due. Visit for more information on the timetable and fares. #YourGautrainJourneyStartsHere

Related Events

Thursday Mar 7 19:00–20:00
First Thursdays Art Quiz by Origin Art at Keyes Art Mile
Thursday Mar 7 17:00–20:00
Unlocking your Collection at Origin Art

Momo Kuro

Trumpet (top floor), Keyes Art Mile, 21 Keyes Ave, Rosebank


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