The overall aims of the visual arts workshops were to:
- Provide creative opportunities for artists/crafters in under-resourced communities to learn about new techniques and materials.
- Explore and share innovative thinking around various cultural art forms and its importance and contribution in building communities.
- Encourage artists/crafters to re-discover and explore their own personal artistic boundaries.
- Establish opportunities for artists/crafters to work in an inter-disciplinary manner with other cultural practitioners in the arts.
- Provide artists/crafters with national and regional networks.
Two Visual Arts Development Workshops have been held to date. The first was held in the Free State in September 2009 and the second was held with the Fanang Diatla Community Project in Limpopo Province during November and December 2009.
Visual Arts Development Workshop – Free State
Dates: 28-30 September 2009
Venue: Mabaleng Building, Department of Fine Arts, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
This project is focused on the development of Arts and Culture within the Outcome Based Education framework. Artists participated by fulfilling the position/role of art- educators, in selected schools where they were able to share their knowledge and experience with both facilitators and learners. The project had a multi-functional Outcomes Based structure whereby job empowerment, arts and culture education, skills transfer and sustainability were specifically highlighted. The project ran in association with the Department of Arts and Culture and the University of the Free State.
The developmental needs of the artists that were covered during the workshop were:
- Skills Development
- Proposal writing and budgeting
- Marketing and networking
- Writing artist statements and formatting CV’s
- Photography and documentation of artworks
- Creating portfolios
- Liaising with provincial government and existing opportunities
- Jaco Spies
- Janine AllenSpies
- Rian Horn
- Pauline Gutter
- Thokozile Nogabe
- Thsidi Motsumi
- Angela de Jesus, Spier Contemporary Regional Co-ordinator (Independent curator and visual artist specializing in printmaking and video art)
- Nontombi Ntakakaze, Artists in School Project Manager (Free State University)
- Fanelo Marumo
- Lungile Hlalele
- Teboho Kobokwane
- David Sibeko
- Isaac Monale
- Cornelia Mokhuthu
- David Litabe
- Julius Theko
- Blondy Rantlabole
- Jacob Lesenyeho
- KK Moila Moizoa
- Susan Skalik
- NP Petrus Malgas
- Cosmos Ramefree
- SM Kgoti
- K Motshidiso
- Mari du Plessis
- Makara Tscenyane
- Makhosi Mattwane
- Kenneth Kgati
- Nontomba Ntakakae
Artists completed feedback reports which rated both the sessions and the facilitator. Artists responded positively saying that the workshop had been a formative experience and also very informative. Some artists noted that the workshop was also a good opportunity to network with other artists. The majority of artists acknowledged the importance of the workshops by highlighting the fact that their newly acquired skills would be actively present in all of their endeavours going forward.
Visual Arts Development Workshop – Fanang Diatla Community Project
Dates: 18 November -11 December 2009
Venue: Fanang Diatla Community Arts & Craft Project in Ga Matlala Kordon Village, Limpopo
The Fanang Diatla workshop group started in 2007, ‘Fanang di Diatla’ a North Sotho word for (Give each other a Hand or Help each other). The group is based in a village called Ga Matlala about 60-70 km from Polokwane. The project is a community based organisation that specialises in producing different types of craft, which extend in range from sewing to clay pottery to bead work, papier-mâché and carpentry. Fanang Diatla have acquired a little piece of land from a local chief and have built a small building that serves as a workshop, display area and office. DAC Funding was used to build the building. They have +18 people involved, many of them elderly folks from the village.
Our initial research and assessment of the group’s needs showed that they had received a pottery burner, wheel and tools but were without the essential skills to permit them to correctly operate it. The direct result of this unfortunate situation, compounded by the lack of any available funds which could have been channelled into training, was that the machines had been standing untouched for over a year. All their pottery work was done in the traditional way. As the focus of our intervention, and the fact that it would be best realised by a series of workshops and not a single intervention as initially assumed, was clear to us, we set about structuring a number of sessions in order for the group to obtain the basic production understanding and some product development skills.
During the four week training programme the participants were trained in basic pottery:
- Pottery production
- Wheel work: throwing and turning
- Firing procedures
- Product development
- Clerkford Buthane, Fanang Diatla Arts and Culture Project Manager
- Angela Rivett-Carnac & Lerole Dikgale, Ceramics Trainers
- Choune J.W. Boshomane
- Johanna M. Boshomane
- Clerkford Buthane
- Rosina M. Futhane
- Meriam M. Kgomo
- Granny K. Maekela
- Francina R. Mafemo
- Rosiana M. Magoai
- Johanna M. Manaka
- Yevonne M. Manakana
- Ellias K. Mangoato
- Mosima K. Mashamaite
- Maria Mashiane
- Plantinah R. Mathekga
- M. J. Mogale
- Mavis P. Molomo
- Rloisa R. Mothapo
- Helen K. Ngoepe
- Moshoane Nkgweng
- Phineas K. Rakobela
- Aanias N. Molokomme
- Martin Mabula
- Martin N. Mangoato
- Gloria Chokoe
The training provided a platform for the group to showcase their innovation and artistic creation. The artists feel that this will contribute to enhancing their artistic and economic independence within the area and province and provide the infrastructure necessary to successfully create a centre of viable economic activity for 2010. The artists immediately identified certain products that would reflect and satisfy their communities needs and have set out to produce these products. Of course at the outset of the workshops the participants expectations were uncertain as the experience was novel to them, but they are now confident and familiar with all steps and processes from preparing the clay, throwing, turning, foot ring to designing different products. In addition the more skilled members will continue the learning process and actively transfer their skills to their fellow members.
The facilitator was very good and effective and also hired an assistant with the necessary skills to translate the training into the language that was comprehensible to all. The participants felt that it was both a great pleasure and privilege to take part in this short ceramic training programme and that the benefits have been enormous all round, more so still because the workshops took place in a remote and marginalised area.