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The City of Johannesburg’s new council chamber was filled to capacity.

Every seat was taken, but this time it was not councillors who were in the chamber. It was 134 excited artists with their proud parents and family members. 
The City had recently invited them to officially acknowledge their contribution in beautifying the new council chamber with their totems.

The Joburg Property Company (JPC), the managers of the City of Johannesburg property portfolio, took some of the 134 artists whose artwork decorate the new council chamber on a tour before the official acknowledgement.

“The totems by these young artists are placed in here to remind those who use this place that their decisions don’t only affect them but the people of Johannesburg too,” said Speaker of Council Cllr Vasco da Gama

Initially, 570 residents submitted their artwork but only 134 were chosen, with the winners’ ages ranging from ages of 6 to 50 years, all from different communities in the City to promote diversity. In order to represent all seven regions fairly, between 10 and 25 designs were selected per region. The selected totems now surround the walkway inside the chamber, with each artist’s name engraved on their totems.

“The totems and your names will be there forever. Maybe one day one of you will be sitting in this very chamber with their totem across the room,” added Da Gama

The totems are 2 meters tall, 80cm wide and 200cm deep. It took the designers 16 hours to create and carve one totem that is a total of 2 144 hours. The artworks are there to tell the story of the people of Johannesburg. They express their thoughts and emotions.

Cllr Da Gama said the totems were nothing but a small token of appreciation from the City to the people. Each of the 134 artists was given a certificate one in in full view of their beaming parents and other family members.