In a post-COVID-19 era, it is crucial that human economies and social lives recognise the interconnectedness of all systems – of all life. Our preeminent aspiration should be a vision of a good life determined by health, empathy, harmony, care, respect, a sense of community, solidarity, and vitality among humans and ecosystems.
We have been given a glimpse of this over the last few months– the challenge is to build on this foundation. DM
Rudi Kimmie and Harald Witt • 23 July 2020
The Orange art Project (see below) ** in partnership with Home from home, has introduced image-making and craft into nine of the homes managed by HFH. Each home has a house mother, a social worker and a team supporting their needs. The children range in age from 2 to 18. The 36 houses are spread across the Cape peninsula.
Please visit www.homefromhome.org.za
The Orange art group, (see notes below) * is a loose association of artists from various backgrounds and experiences. The Orange art project is an extension of this group.
In March 2020 the group could not meet for the usual Monday sessions, due to Covid-19 lockdown. Jill Trappler decided to teach via what’s app groups to which many students responded positively. A few members of this group donated money and materials to set up the pilot project with five of the homes (HFH) during the lockdown.
(As of July 2020, the number of houses increased to nine and eight artists are assisting.)
In August 2020, The NAC responded to a proposal based on the pilot project and financial support was given to The Orange art project. This includes assisting the artists, the homes and the Orange project support team.
The selected artists are all practising artists. The stipends assist the artists with their own materials and costs plus the time given to working online with the mothers and children.
(As of September, some of the artists have visited the homes)
The project team coordinates all the participants involved in the project; assists the artists with projects, collates all the work and comments from the children, artists and mothers onto a google drive group and manages the finances, materials and data.
There is a budget to assist the mothers with data each month and materials for projects are delivered to each house once a month by the HFH team.
The benefits of these interactions have been evident in the work and in the comments from the artists and mothers.
The artists are adding to their own skills by gaining teaching experience. They support one another as they are from various language groups and have varying levels of experience. Interaction and exchange are mainly via WhatsApp; sharing ideas and exchanging images has opened up conversations regarding techniques and projects including suggestions made by the mothers and children. These projects include painting, printmaking and drawing, collage and working with recycled materials, murals perhaps, knitting, (for example) puppet making; all this possible and relevant to social, physical, psychological and educational development.
One of the intentions is to work with the mothers and assist them in their tasks of occupying, educating, supporting and engaging their families with creative activities. Voice messages, video work with cell phones and sharing music are also encouraged.
An exhibition wall in the homes is encouraged and we will soon make a group or Instagram page that shows the work of all the children in all the houses.
It may be possible for the artists, mothers and children to work in the forests and on the beaches in the spring. It is a slow process of encouraging everyone to experience the value of these activities, discuss the challenges and experience the results.
These essential activities are available to a few on this Peninsula, not too many. There is very little art education or visual literacy in schools.
It may be possible to keep this project going and include more homes and artists during 2021.
This will depend on capacity and funding and mostly on the response to this partnership.
The overall budget is low; ten houses, eight artists, four support team workers, data, materials and banking/auditing costs are covered by a modest budget. Moving forward we will have to increase this by adding transport fees, costs to cover additional artists, materials and data for more homes. Some of the artists and support team are volunteers, others receive a stipend to cover their costs.
We are all aware that our funding will end in January 2021. The Orange art project and the Orange art group are not registered entities, they are managed and coordinated by Jill Trappler. Donations from Foundations, artists and patrons are welcome and will be acknowledged. It is always possible to donate to HFH.
End September 2020; This project has grown organically and shifted with the needs of the artists and the homes. The financial support from the NAC has formalised the project; all financial records are in order, cataloguing, coordination and communication are well managed. The evidence of fun and learning is in the artworks and the comments.
Six months from the start of the pilot project there is a greater understanding of the need and impact of this initiative.
The first meeting with all concerned is on Tuesday 29 September 2020 at the Spin street art gallery, 6 Spin Street, Cape Town.
*The Orange art group.
An informal, interactive artists working group.
The Orange art group is a drop-in group that Jill Trappler has been coordinating for 40 years in Cape Town. The group is made up of locals from all backgrounds and ages. The sessions and studios have always been managed on a drop-in basis and non-paying participants are welcome. There are participants who live abroad and in Africa who drop in when they are in town. This adds to the interaction and exchange of skills, ideas and experience which are the basis of this educational conversation. The community of artists is diverse in age, gender and experience. It is this diversity that assists in promoting interaction and visual literacy on all levels. During lockdown the interaction in the group moved to four WhatsApp groups and an Instagram page. (Monday_orange)
** The Orange art project; A project for social coherence using visual arts.
This initiative was started in response to the need for art materials required in a number of homes where the children and foster parents have little or no exposure to image-making.
Lockdown has been stressful for all of us and especially to those who are already facing challenges. Art-making contributes to healing and to the wellbeing of all of us, directly and indirectly.
In response to “the art in the home project” that grew into a partnership with Home from Home, financial donations for materials were made by the artists to be distributed to a few homes. All images were sent by WhatsApp for cataloguing. The social workers, mothers, children and artists are making great headway and expressing so much enthusiasm and gratitude.