Minister Meyer's Address at the Hotel Verde/Frank Joubert Art Centre Function
Address delivered by Dr IH Meyer, the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, at the Hotel Verde/Frank Joubert Art Centre Function on 29 August 2013.
The owners of Hotel Verde, Mr Mario and Ms Annemarie Delicio
The General Manager of Hotel Verde, Ms Samantha Annandale
Niklas Zimmer, art consultant of Hotel Verde (who conceptualised the Verde Project)
The Director of the Frank Joubert Art Centre, Ms Liesle Hartman
The principals, staff, parents and learners of Alexander Sinton, Wynberg High, Isilimela High and Cedar High schools
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for inviting me to address you this evening. Let me start off by expressing my gratitude and appreciation to:
Firstly, the owner of the hotel, Mr Mario Delicio. Allow me to quote yesterday morning’s Cape Times which describes the hotel as follows:
“Wind turbines, geo-thermal heat pumps and electric-generating gym equipment are just some of the things that make Hotel Verde Green.”
Now I do not for a minute doubt the fact that this is a green building, but I do want to assert that tonight’s project goes beyond the way in which green technologies have been used in the construction of this building. The partnership with the Frank Joubert Art Centre and the Ibhabhathane Project speaks of a hotel group that understands the importance of sustainability as it relates to technology, and also people and the youth in particular.
Mr Delicio, to you and your team, thank for the Verde Project for it demonstrates that you understand that we have to consider alternative technologies when thinking about the future of our environment, and we also have to have to think about raising awareness amongst our youth for, as you are quoted in the abovementioned media report, “we are parents and we have a certain responsibility towards future generations”. Thank you.
Secondly, I also wish to extend my appreciation to the Frank Joubert Art Centre and in particular the Ibhabhathane Project whose slogan I believe is “Lessons in Art, Designs for Life”. An apt description of a project that is teaching South African youth the beauty of art, the power of its expression, the importance of its technique, and also that art can provide a foundation for life. By instilling a passion for art in both teachers and pupils, the Ibhabathane Project is doing more than improving art education, providing opportunity and building careers. It is providing a cultural and creative outlet, providing hope and highlighting beauty to children who previously had no exposure to the joys of art. One former student whose work is testimony to this is Nic Shackle, who designed the front cover of the JSE Magazine earlier this year. The front cover won second prize at the Pica Awards which is one of the most prestigious awards in the magazine industry in South Africa.
Thirdly, ladies and gentlemen, I want to express my congratulations to this very special group of young artists from Alexander Sinton High School, Wynberg High School and Isilimela High School.
The Germans have a saying “shared pain is half the pain, shared joy is double the joy”. The doubling of that joy is what we experience here tonight. We bathe in the radiance of your success.
While I note the obvious talent displayed by learners I must also express my appreciation for their dedication and hard work. More importantly however, I want to thank them for taking the time to learn a craft and then to raise awareness about the environment via their newly acquired skills. In doing so, you have succeeded in emphasising that art has a moral purpose, visionary truthfulness, and inward-looking integrity. In the final line of the poem Ode to a Grecian Urn, the romantic poet John Keats wrote: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty--that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”.
Art is also about insight and revelation. Thank you for sharing your insights with us.
Ladies and gentlemen, you would agree with me that we have to do much more to create awareness of the arts and find ways of ensuring greater access to the arts. Organisations such as the Frank Joubert Art Centre are an example of what can be done to give the youth access to arts education. Events such as this one tonight create awareness of the arts, and also of the role the arts can play in communicating some of the challenges that future generations will face.
I believe that we need to do much more to promote access to the arts. October for example is celebrated worldwide as “Art Beyond Awareness Month”. The focus is on creating access to the arts for the visually impaired. The theme for 2013 is “Building an Inclusive Society, Promoting Access to the Arts for All” which speaks directly to one of the key strategic objectives of the Western Cape Government, which is to build a socially inclusive society. The Iziko Museum in Cape Town is one of the partners in this programme led by the Alliance of American Museums in Washington DC. Exciting projects which promote visual literacy are doing much to provide access to the to the part of human culture and intellectual life that has been long considered accessible only through sight.
Finally, I believe that the arts and importantly this very impressive Hotel Verde can contribute to and benefit from the upcoming attention and opportunities that Cape Town Design Capital 2014 will bring to our region. I encourage you to explore the possibilities and take full advantage of the platform that has been created for the creative sector.
I thank you.