DEVELOP Fort Hare Residency

Dates: 20 September 2009 – 11 October 2009

Venue: University of Fort Hare, Alice, Eastern Cape

The Fort Hare Artists in Residency Programme is designed to provide emerging, mid-career artists living and working in and around the Eastern Cape with a working space to deepen and broaden their artistic practice. Seven artists were selected using criteria which included the the quality and/or potential of their work, their interest in working within the programme, and the nature of the pivotal role that such a significant experience (i.e the residency and the consequent exposure and learning) could play in the making or further establishing of the artist’s career path.

A call for applicants was made to all Eastern Cape artists at the end of July 2009,and 25 applications were received. Ten were then shortlisted and finally seven artists were selected for the residency programme.

The selected artists participated in the residency programme from 20 September 2009 until 11 October 2009 at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Eastern Cape. They had access to the university  studio space and facilities. Artists were given a budget (determined by an individual assessment) for art materials at the beginning of the programme.

For the duration of the programme, resident artists were provided with accommodation and meals at a local B&B in Alice, as well as a daily allowance. Resident artists had the opportunity to engage with established professionals such as art administrators, researchers, and other artists. Five intervention workshops tailored to the resident artist’s assessed developmental needs were held during their stay. These workshops covered the following topics: art as a business, art administration, marketing, networking, financial management, concept development, and presentation skills. At the end of the programme, the resident artists organised a group exhibition at the University of Fort Hare’s Studio Gallery with the assistance of both the co-ordinator, Mgcineni Sobopha and Lisa Van Wyk.

Guest Lecturers:

  • Michael Barry, Head of Department of Arts & Culture at the Nelson Mandela Metro University
  • Siya Mdoda, self taught artist (mixed media approaches)
  • Stanley Grootbroom, professional artist
  • David Koloane, professional artist
  • Lisa Van Wyk, Head Of Graphic Design, Damelin East London
  • Dr Nombeko Mpako, UNISA (research)

Co-ordinator:

  • Mgcineni Sobopha, Co-ordinator, HOD of Fort Hare University Art Department

Artists:

  • Zukisa Augustine Madyibi
  • Ndileka Gongxeka
  • Mncedi Bodlo
  • Birthwell Leka Gaji
  • Christo  Noel
  • Dinisile Qapa
  • Loyiso Victor Nabe

Impact:

The residency was well received by the artists and facilitators.To our knowledge, the Spier Contemporary is the only residency that has taken place in the Eastern Cape Province. Some of the comments that were received from the evaluation that was conducted with the artists were as follows:

  • Before the residency their artistic outlook was restricted and confined, but now they think more freely and are experimenting within their works.
  • They were able to work with other artists from the province and learn from the facilitators.
  • Their networks and database were increased.
  • The programme was a positive experience and gave constructive preparation useful for their chosen future careers. They also expressed the desire that such programmes be held more often and for longer periods of time.
  • The programme helped them voice their concerns as artists living in and around the Eastern Cape.

It is also worthwhile noting that the facilitators too felt the experience had been a positive one, rewarding their investment fully and each facilitator confirmed that they would make themselves available to participate in future programmes. It was felt that the programme generally empowered the Eastern Cape Artists and afforded them a new voice and platform with which to make themselves heard. The seven artists have been asked by the Anne Bryant Gallery to hold a group exhibition in January 2010.