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Controversial Art: AI Artist Turns Joburg’s Bree Street Explosion into Fashion Catwalk, Sparking Debate



artist used the Johannesburg gas explosion as a background

When an AI artist used the Johannesburg gas explosion as a background, which emerged on social media a few days ago, it received mixed reactions.

According to IOL, photographer Thekiso Mokhele’s thought-provoking images in the series titled “The Rumbling” depict what appears to be a fashion shoot with the “models” walking and posing amidst the devastation left behind by the explosion that ripped through the busy Johannesburg street.


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A post shared by Lawd Zexaw (@thekiso_mokhele)


In one of the two Instagram posts, the artist expressed gratitude to South Africa for giving them a voice through their artwork. They described the series as an eye-opening experience that raised awareness about the tragic explosion in Johannesburg, leading to increased engagement with current events. The artist viewed the fact that the country came together and voiced their opinions through art as a positive outcome, encouraging further discussion.

Also read: Explosion in Joburg CBD Causes Shutdown of Numerous Small Businesses


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A post shared by Lawd Zexaw (@thekiso_mokhele)


While some of the artist’s followers praised the creative visuals, referring to them as “Modern-day social commentary! Amazing work bro” on Instagram, others found it too soon to use a traumatic event as the background for their art.

One person commented that while art can be subjective, they felt the portrayal was tone-deaf considering the recent nature of the explosion. They questioned why the artist romanticised a traumatic event in this manner.

On Twitter, user @SiphesihleVazi shared some of the fashion-related images from the series, commenting on how expressive the nation is. This post, too, garnered mixed responses.

Some users expressed disapproval, stating that AI art relies on the audience being unintelligent, and they believed the work failed in that regard. Another Twitter user simply labelled the series as “utter sh*t.”

However, amidst the negative feedback, there were also positive remarks about the artist’s approach. One commenter appreciated the artist’s innovative thinking, referring to the work as “Thinking out the box” and commending it as exceptional.


Another admirer described the series as groundbreaking, acknowledging its impact in presenting the tragic event through an artistic lens.

The reactions to Thekiso Mokhele’s art series highlight the diverse range of perspectives that art can evoke, with some viewers praising the creative expression. In contrast, others raised concerns about the appropriateness of using a recent disaster as the backdrop for artistic exploration.

Also read:

City Assures Restoration of Electricity and Water Following Joburg Explosion

Picture: Instagram / thekiso_mokhele


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