Address delivered by Dr Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, at the award function of the Shoprite Checkers Strokes of Genius high school art competition held on 22 October 2013.
The Programme Director, Mr Nigel Pierce
Mr Radi van Zyl of the Shoprite Development Trust
Mr Valli Omar and the panel of judges
Finalist of the Strokes of Genius art competition
Ladies and gentlemen
Good evening and thank you for inviting me to address you at this very special event. Let me start off by expressing my gratitude and appreciation to the organisers of the Stroke of Genius project, the Shoprite Development Trust, the judges and the finalists of the Strokes of Genius 2013 art competition.
I am patently aware that we can do much more to create awareness of the arts and greater access to the arts. Organisations such as the Shoprite Development Trust are an example of what can be done to give the youth access to arts education. Events such as the one we are having tonight raise awareness of the arts, and also the economic value of the arts. This competition has an outcome that goes beyond the mere awarding of a prize. This competition also offers access to the arts economy. This is forward thinking which is, from a government perspective, an initiative that must be acknowledged and supported.
Ladies and gentlemen, the name of the project “Strokes of Genius” speaks to the potential of the participants. I define potential as uncapped capability. in other words, the unlimited ability to do great things. It hints at the ability of tonight’s finalists to do great things in relation to their paintings and sketches, and also as in relation to the manner in which they responded to the theme, Picture a New Tomorrow, to communicate a message of hope in the future. Art for the sake of art is good, but art that moves people and provides fresh perspectives on what is possible in the future is great.
So, to the artists, thank you for sharing your art with us and, more importantly, thank you for also providing an insight into your view of the future. This is a view which is filled with so much hope and desire for a better world.
To my mind, this project is teaching South African youth the beauty of art, the power of its expression, the importance of its techniques and skills, and also that art can provide a foundation for life. By instilling a passion for art in learners, the Strokes of Genius project is doing more than improving art education or building careers. It is providing a cultural and creative outlet, providing hope and highlighting beauty to children who may previously not have had exposure to the joys of art.
My friend Tom Rucker from Munich introduced me to an old German idiom: Geteiltes Leid, ist halbes Leid, Geteiltes Freude ist doppelte Freude (shared paid 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. Thank you to The Stroke of Genius Project and the finalists for embracing us with your joy and for allowing it to fill this room this evening. Congratulations and well done!
I thank you.