Handmade ‘selfies’ in the Olifants River Valley
The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) invested in a visual arts workshop for Grade 4, 5 and 6 learners at the Koekenaap Cultural Facility on the West Coast from 6–10 July 2015.
This was a follow-up opportunity for learners from Koekenaap VGK Primary School who received basic drawing and multi-media training over two months in 2014. Participants were kept busy from 09:00 to 16:00 every day making art with multi-media and paint. They also enjoyed a field trip to Doorn Bay where they drew the harbour.
Learner Dawid Olivier said, “Ek hou van kuns en verf en van konsentreer op my kuns. Dit was lekker by die kuns skool te wees. Ek is ook bly dat die Departement vir ons genooi het”. [I like art and painting and focusing on my art. I enjoyed being at the art school and I’m glad that the Department invited us to participate.]
Coach Elmie van Wyk focused mainly on self-portraits because young people are strongly connected to this form through the current craze of taking “selfies”. Over the five days she laid the foundation for the learners to produce a final painting on A3 canvas. “One should not put too much pressure on the children to produce. Learning to paint is a process. I think more time is needed with regular classes so that they can build confidence, but they are eager to learn, absorb knowledge and put it into practice,” she said.
Project manager Desiree Brand says it was a privilege to work with the youth again. They showed progress since the previous workshop in 2014. “There are a few children who show exceptional interest and who have the potential to develop their artistic talents. One child in particular is absolutely gifted and should study further. In all my years of working with children I have not seen so much natural talent and dedication in such a young child. ” she said.
The children learned that there are many opportunities for people with well-developed artistic ability to become self-employed. They also learned that producing art has therapeutic value and can help a person cope with challenges in life.
The workshop culminated in an exhibition organised to show the rest of the local community what the children had been doing. Through identifying talented youth and providing them with the opportunity to develop their art skills, DCAS has invested in the future of the Olifants River Valley, BETTER TOGETHER.