Interview: #MyJoburg with Trevor Stuurman, photographer and creative director

21 Sep 2023
In our #MyJoburg series, we speak to people that add something unique to Joburg's creative mix and get the lowdown on what enthrals them about this city. 

Kimberley-born photographer and creative maestro, Trevor Stuurman, has been setting the global stage ablaze. His lens has captured the likes of Barack Obama, Naomi Campbell and Bella Hadid, racking up accolades like Forbes 30 Under 30 and TIME Magazine's Next Generation Leaders in 2021, amongst others. When he views the world through his creative lens, he finds beauty in the things that evoke memories of home – bursting with colour, love, and that unmistakable sense of African belonging.

Stuurman is also the founder of The Manor, a community of multidisciplinary creatives. With The Manor's exhibition Home Away from Home on show at Keyes Art Mile until early Oct 2023, we tracked down this creative for insights into Joburg, one of the places he calls home. 
Photographer and creative director, Trevor Stuurman. Photo: Jonathan Ménialec. 

"[Joburg is] a city that is alive with infinite possibilities and endless opportunities."

What does home mean to you?
Home is the ground zero to life. It is where my story begins.

Home Away From Home is a very special exhibition and personal offering. Tell us about the works in this show. It's also a follow-up to your previous exhibition A Place Called Home.
This is a presentation of home but in a different light. It's quite personal for me to let people into my own space in this way, but as we bring The Manor to life, I want to create a physical manifestation of the stories and people in The Manor's universe and the way it could one day look. 

In a city as active and sprawling as Johannesburg, we could all use a piece of home. How do you foster this for yourself and your community? 
By creating spaces for conversation, creativity and collaboration. For example, The Manor as a project space.

What makes your own home a nourishing place to be in?
I am surrounded by nature, art and heritage.

Your work has taken you around the world. Where are some of your homes away from home, and what makes them have meaning for you?
Senegal, Kenya and New York. I have built a community that always makes me feel at home.
Kolonaki greek restaurant (2) Michael Holiasmenos
Kolonaki in Parkhurst. A little slice of Greece in Joburg. Photo: Michael Holiasmenos.

When you're not travelling, Johannesburg is your base. Why is this the city you've chosen to call home?
It's a city that is alive with infinite possibilities and endless opportunities.

The Manor is positioned as a "home for Africa's greatest stories". Why was it important to you to launch this platform now and what have you discovered since embarking on this project?
It's literally our time as Africans. This means time to tell our own stories in our mother tongues and at our time. Historically this has never happened.

How did growing up in Kimberly shape you as an artist and a person?
Growing up in Kimberley was the blank canvas and the perfect ground zero for my artistic journey.

What legacy do you hope to carry forward through the Sunday Best event, as it exists today?
We would like to cultivate a space for sharing memories, music and meals.

From food to music to art, what can visitors expect at the Heritage Day Sunday Best event on Sep 24?
Music from The Muffinz, Muneyi, and Jimm and Tonic. A portrait studio by The Manor, food by Chef Mo and drinks by Inverroche.
Cocktails at Marble
Some Marble cocktail magic, at Keyes Art Mile. Photo: Marble. 

Your favourite Joburg suburb, and why you choose it?
Killarney, it's just so special.

What three things should a visitor not leave Joburg without seeing or experiencing?
The galleries, Soweto and Braamfontein.

The most memorable meal you have eaten in Joburg?
This is home and so there have been many memorable meals.

If you could buy one Joburg building, which would it be?
Circa Gallery, it's iconic. 
Circa Gallery at Keyes Art Mile. Photo: Justin Lee. 

If you are the Joburg mayor for one day (average tenure) what would you change?
I'd focus on restoring the inner-city housing crisis and cleaning the city. I mean, it's the City of Gold, and surely it deserves to shine.

Favourite Joburg label, and why?
Wanda Lephoto, it’s simply the best.

What makes someone a Joburger?
The spirit of hustling and grit.

What do you least like about Joburg?
The litter. 

Is there a particular dish that sums up the taste of Joburg for you?
Braai meat, chakalaka and pap.
From the grill - Honest Travel Experience - Photo by Nkayiso Shabalala
Hard to beat – braai meat and pap. Pass the chakalaka.
Photo: Honest Travel Experience, Nkayiso Shabalala.

The perfect weekend in Joburg includes...
A gallery visit at BKhz Gallery, breakfast at Nice on 4th in Parkhurst, lunch at Gemelli or Kolonaki, ice-cream at Pantry, sundowners at Marble, good vibes at The Royale and the best music at Bar Ber Black Sheep.

Three words that describe this city
Bold, iconic and unmatched. 

Check out some of our previous #MyJoburg interviews for more insights into the city:

#MyJoburg with Kay Kay Ribane, visual artist and co-founder of USURPA Gallery
#MyJoburg interview with Lelowhatsgood, creative trailblazer and founder of the VNJ Ball. 
#MyJoburg interview with Banele Khoza, artist and founder of BKhz Gallery. 


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