Air Force 1’s 40th anniversary celebrated in Johannesburg

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From Friday 23 September till Sunday 25 September, Gallery on 4th in Melville provides a space for guests to witness the collective power of force rooted in community. Together with selected heroes of the community — DBN Gogo, Wanda Lepotho and Anthony Bila — Nike, in the spirit of collectiveness, brings the gallery to life. The weekend-long exhibition goes beyond the viewing of works from our community heroes, as the space also features pieces from emerging artists, who together with established creatives express what it meant to “Be True” in South Africa. 

The launch evening accompanied by the weekend visits of the exhibition and campaign highlights the core of the Air Force 1, which is rooted in community and culture. Because the truth is, without community, there would be no 40th and there would be no Air Force 1. 

DBN Gogo

It is through the exhibition that guests and future community heroes are reminded that alone we’re individuals, but together we’re so much more. Using the voices of the three selected catalysts, guests have the unique opportunity to dive deeper into their stories that introduce everyone to the five upcoming talented individuals identified and showcased at Gallery on 4th. 

The curation of bringing together an interactive and real-life experience was inspired by one of Nike’s classic and iconic moments which debuted at Gallery on 4th 12 years ago. What was originally conceptualised to be a space to exhibit the work of established and emerging artists whose work embodied what it meant to Be True in South Africa, has now been elevated to positioning Gallery on 4th as a collective voice of and for creatives. A platform that makes heroes of a new generation of Force, powered by community shelters which continue to shape our street and sneaker culture. 

Through authentically using the voices of creative catalysts to pay homage to community shelters that continue to fuel the spirit of Unreasonable Belief among our youth, each individual’s story began in the places that helped shape them. This further reinforces the idea that where their identified talented individuals find themselves today, can assist them in uniquely telling their own stories inspired by their immediate surroundings and the joint community. 

Anthony Bila

The common thread of joint force in building community is something all three artists — Anthony Bila, DBN Gogo and Wanda Lephoto — are familiar with. Multidisciplinary artist Bila highlights how he’s proud of his origin story: “I found safety in my creativity and community, it kept me occupied and inspired, it kept me dreaming about seeing the world, and those closest to me kept encouraging me. As much as creativity saved me, community made me.” 

The evening, which marks the beginning of the weekend-long exhibition, reminds everyone of how “a win for one, is a win for all”— further redefining what community looks like as well as community shelters of the future through the encouragement of collective Joint FORCE. 

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