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Tuesday, February 20, 2024



(Above: Wiseman Ngiba from Inanda favours large format works using acrylic on brown paper board. Photo: Illa Thompson)

Mzansi Arts Development Ensemble (MADE) has launched a visual arts support programme for artists.

It is just every artist’s dream – to be given a spacious studio in which to work; time to create; a modest stipend as pocket money; access to art materials, and fellow artists in close proximity to inspire you. For a dozen or so Durban artists, this has been their gift thanks to an innovative project headed by Mzansi Arts Development Ensemble (MADE).

MADE, a CathsSeta-accredited programme - the Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA), headed by Lerato Molemong, has been running an innovative entrepreneurial visual arts programme, based in one of the spacious training rooms at the Order of St John in Durban, creating a safe and calm space for artists to work, supporting them with materials and resources.

Project facilitator, Musa Ndawonde. says: “It has been a wonderful experience to be surrounded by fellow artists and be part of their creative journey. The artists come from different walks of life, and many are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Some are just beginning their careers while some are already semi-professionals. Working together has led to lots of collaboration, ideas and inspiration. It is a huge privilege for me to be part of this process.”

(Right: Mlamuli Shozi from Umlazi has a love for animals, especially black panthers. He works with ink on canvas. Photo: Illa Thompson)

Three days a week for the past three months, the artists have been invited to use the studio as their own to make art. No limitations are imposed on them, and there is no agenda or pressure, allowing for maximum creativity. Some of the artists are working within their preferred medium, while others are using the opportunity to explore different genres under the supervision of Musa, and with input from their peers.

The artists represent a variety of genres: from portraiture to abstract, from acrylics to beads, from large format paintings, to embellished garments. The idea is ultimately to make art which can be sold in order for the artists to earn income and become self-supporting. MADE is helping the artists to market and sell their completed artworks, by creating and promoting an online art sales platform.

(Left: Nondumiso Sithole from Inanda working in mixed media. She examines how our love for money has blindfolded us to who we were before. Photo: Illa Thompson)

 They have also been given masterclasses with some of the industry’s leading arts practitioners: professional curators, gallerists, artists and publicists have given input into the process. The team have had conversations with (among others) Paula Thomson (Woza Moya); Hlengiwe Dube (master bead-worker, educator and arts collaborator); Jenny Stretton (curator); Jane Digby (gallerist and curator – Gallery @ Lifestyle, Ballito); Angela Shaw (gallerist – KZNSA Gallery) and Thami Jali (artist).

MADE is a CathsSeta-accredited programme - the Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA), headed by Lerato Molemong. It is supported by BASA and PESP4 (the presidential employment stimulus programme, phase 4).