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Sunday, April 7, 2019


(Ram Devineni)

The KZNSA offers an invitation to an Artist Talk by the American Arts Incubator (AAI) on April 11, 2019, at The KZNSA Gallery at 17h30 for 18h00. AAI officially take over the KZNSA Gallery for several weeks.

The KZNSA Gallery has announced the launch of American Arts Incubator — South Africa led by artist Ram Devineni. American Arts Incubator (AAI) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs developed in partnership with ZERO1, a Silicon Valley-based arts and technology organization. AAI is a creative exchange program that utilizes community-driven digital and new media art projects to instigate dialogue, build communities, bolster local economies, and further social innovation. Each incubator country addresses a relevant social or environmental challenge such as economic equity, youth empowerment, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. In spring 2019, AAI exchanges will occur in Mexico, Nepal, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. The incubator in South Africa will be implemented in collaboration with U.S. Consulate General Durban and KZNSA.

AAI sends a U.S. artist abroad to collaborate with local communities in each exchange country during a month-long incubator. These creative collaborations transfer skills in art, technology, and entrepreneurship. Through a digital and new media art workshop, they facilitate dialogue and explorations of the social challenge. AAI provides small grants to participants who break into teams to prototype creative projects applying workshop skills to the challenge. Each exchange culminates in an open house that showcases the prototypes and solicits public feedback.

In Durban, Ram Devineni’s workshops will focus on youth empowerment. Participants will learn the process of creating pop-culture artwork such as comic books, street art, and other formats with added levels of interactivity using augmented reality. The first part of the workshops will focus on determining local social challenges that participants would like to address, and sourcing stories around them using standard documentary methods. Interview stories will then be used create socially-engaged comic books and street art, which will then be tied together using augmented reality to create an interactive experience.

KZNSA will host the program between April 12 and May 6, 2019, and people interested in art, technology, and youth empowerment are invited to participate; no prior experience necessary. The artist will also guide participants through a team-based project development period with funding from AAI’s small grants program. The exchange will close with a panel review and open house to the public at KZNSA Gallery, 166 Bulwer Road, Durban on May 3 and 4, 2019.

Devineni shares: “Working with KZNSA Gallery, I will collaborate with participants from different constituent groups in Durban and map out art projects using interactive technologies to address social issues such as economic inequity, gender-based violence, and the opioid crisis. Participants will design work inspired by stories from local people.”

Devineni is the creator of the augmented reality comic book, Priya’s Shakti and Priya’s Mirror, which received the Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund from the Ford Foundation and supported by the World Bank, and showcased at 2016 New York Film Festival. He was named a “gender equality champion” by UN Women for creating India’s first female superhero who is a rape survivor. He was named by Fast Company magazine as one of the most creative people in business in 2017 for his innovative use of augmented reality to address social issues.

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. Visit

ZERO1 leverages art, science, and technology to create social change — addressing complex social challenges utilizing community-driven new media and digital art projects. We believe that artistic experimentation with emergent technologies broadens our critical understanding of the world and provokes novel creative strategies. Through a global network of partners, we bridge governmental, academic, corporate, and cultural worlds to build engaged and vibrant communities that drive social action. Visit

The public is also welcome to attend a Poetry Evening on April 13, 2019, 17h00. Dates to note related to the AAI take-over include: Workshops and Project Development from April 13 to May 2 and the Open House on May 2 at 17h30.