Isango! New Students at Keiskamma
A new and exciting initiative kicked off this month within the Art programme. Mercedes Benz SA, recognising the expertise of the Hamburg artists and the importance of skills training for unemployed youth, are funding a 1-year pilot programme for up to 40 new students. At the beginning of March we launched the new bridging programme, aptly named 'Isango' (the gate) with a taster day to explain to interested young local people what the course of study would include. All students will begin withdrawing classes to be followed by foundation classes in various artistic disciplines- ceramics, textiles and embroidery, print-making and ......... All work and research will be based around themes; the first three months is focusing on South African Birds, to be followed by Environment and then People & Culture. There will also be English and Maths support, but lessons are to be very practical and closely linked with the current theme. Business and Life Skills complete the initial programme. There are also plans for further diversification for committed students, giving them opportunities to try out hospitality, driving and other options.
We have made a good start on this ambitious programme. Students are now signed up and have each received a bag of basic stationery and art materials. Some students are embroidering their bags to create their own personal statement. All their work is being recorded in a journal. For most of these young people this is their first exposure to a vibrant creative education. So they bring a fresh and infectious enthusiasm.
No doubt there will be challenges up ahead. For some of our senior artists this is their first experience of being 'tutors'. We shall also struggle to have the staff to deliver a pilot programme that is as consistent and robust as we would wish. We hope that during the year some international volunteer teachers will visit and offer their skills to complement the basic schedule. We hope that our new students will have the courage and commitment to stick with this new venture.
Meanwhile, one of our students, Aviwe had this to say about her experiences so far:
I ENJOYED THE FELTING LEASON
You choose a suitable work surface than can tolerate water and place and old towel and spread the wool on it.
It was quite exciting to work with felt, because have learnt a lot. I did not know that I can make something creative and nice on wool without using a needle o sewing machine.
This workshop opened my mind to such an extent that it drawn my attention to Art. I never know Art is broad and wild I was looking it at one dimension but now I learnt something new because this workshop teach me how to make something out of nothing.