Opening of the "Make It New" Exhibition on 15 October 2014
Opening address by Hannetjie du Preez, Chief Director Cultural Affairs at the "Make It New" Exhibition on 15 October 2014
The Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, other dignitaries and guests, exhibitors, visitors to our beautiful city and country, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport of the Western Cape Government, I would like to take this opportunity to again congratulate the City of Cape Town for hosting the Design Capital of the World during 2014. Those of you who have had the opportunity to gain access to the bid book submitted on which Cape Town won the bid to host this prestigious year-long event, will know that even Capetonians were utterly surprised and proud of what we had to offer as a potential host.
We have really been spoilt with all the innovative design-related events and projects that have been on show as part of the programme for Design Capital of the World 2014. Despite this, it became clear that there was a gap to link our extensive design inheritance to the innovative and state of the art design that is currently being produced: In our multicultural society there are so many references to both our intangible and tangible heritage. So the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport concluded a partnership and embarked on to showcase our design heritage through the ages.
Recent research supports the fact that the cognitive and cultural origin of early humans and key behavioural innovations seems to have emerged among Homo sapiens in southern Africa during the Late Pleistocene (100,000 – 70,000 BP): from the initial attempt by those modern humans – our ancestors - to decorate pieces of ocre, bone and beads such as those found at the Blombos Cave (some archaeologists refer to the Southern Cape coast cave as the Cradle of Design!) to the decorative patterns applied to pottery by the Khoi and San to the cutting edge designs that you see here today.
Many of the heritage artefacts and objects featuring in the Make It New Exhibition form part of the collections of affiliated museums in the Western Cape.
Part of the Make It New Exhibition will also form a legacy project in that it would, in an electronic format as an installation, be showcased at other venues and museums in future. In this regard we hope to take it to Bavaria in Germany next year when we will be celebrating the 20 years of intergovernmental relations between the regional states of Bavaria and the Western Cape.
Walt Disney once said: You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. And Ralph Lauren stated that he doesn’t design clothes, he designs dreams! I therefore hope that you will agree with me that our dream has been realised by the design team who created an exhibition that showcases the interaction between nature and humans here at the southern point of Africa over millennia.