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The MTN Foundation, Modern Art Projects South Africa (MAPSA) and the Ruach Elohim Church have once again come together to commemorate and congregate on the 16th of June to celebrate Youth Day in the rural town of Richmond, Northern Cape.

Niel Nortje introducing the Images of Human Rights print portfolio. Courtesy of MAPSA.

This year the MTN Foundation and MAPSA were proud to present a display of the “IMAGES OF HUMAN RIGHTS PORTFOLIO” from the MTN Art Collection. The exhibition comprising 27 striking black and white lino- and woodcut pieces created by 27 artists in recognition of South Africa’s Bill of Rights, was designed and printed by Master Printer Jan Jordaan, from Artists for Humanity, in celebration of the adoption of the Bill of Rights by South Africa’s Constitutional Assembly on the 8th of May 1996.

The Ruach Elohim Ministries once again graciously hosted the exhibition in a historic church building, which has stood since the late 1840s, and provided the perfect backdrop for a display of such poignant historical pieces.

Niel Nortje opened the exhibition from the MTN Foundation, who briefly introduced the MTN Art Collection and print portfolio, which a Printmaking Workshop followed to approximately 400 youth and children from the community of Richmond led by artist and printmaker Chad Cordeiro, assisted by the MAPSA teams.

The IMAGES OF HUMAN RIGHTS PORTFOLIO was the main inspiration for the Printmaking Workshop and allowed participants to create, design and develop their interpretation of the Bill of Rights using various printmaking techniques, aiming to inspire and communicate the meaning and spirit of Human Rights and engaging on issues that threaten our democracy – topics such as racism, poor education, lack of access to healthcare, poverty, and other afflictions.

“The educational programme and printmaking workshop offered the community opportunities both to engage with contemporary art and to begin to develop technical skills in the arts. I am grateful to have worked collaboratively on a programme that utilises both MTN’s South African print archive and MAPSA’s technical and social resources to provide access to arts education and technical skills development to the community of Richmond,” said Cordeiro.

LEFT: Jonathan, Comerford, Clause 10: Freedom of association: Freedom of association, 1996. Linocut. Courtesy of the MTN Art Collection. RIGHT: David, Yule, Clause 18: Housing: Safe as housing 1996. Linocut. Courtesy of the MTN Art Collection.

In his foreword to the Images of Human Rights Portfolio, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Human Rights lie at the heart of a democracy. In South Africa, we are blessed with a Bill of Rights that enshrines all our people’s rights and affirms every person’s right to human dignity, equality, and freedom.

“It was a truly a privilege to be able to share with, and avail, MTN’s socially relevant Art Collection towards development programmes that aim to remind our youth, from especially disadvantaged rural communities, of their basic human rights. Collaborations with NPO’s like MAPSA is absolutely imperative when identifying such opportunities and responding to those educational needs,” commented Niel Nortje, the MTN Art Collection Manager.

The portfolio features artists and printmakers:
Philip Badenhorst, Kim Berman, Ezekiel Budeli, Samkelo Bunu, Jonathan Comerford, Dina Cormick, Margaret Gradwell, Philippa Hobbs, Tami Jali, Norman Kaplan, Ian Marley, Azaria Mbatha, Carina Minnaar, James Mphahlele, Vedant Nanackchand, Sophie Peters, Pieta Robin, John Roome, Sibusiso Sabela, Edwine Simon, Dominic Thorburn, Andrew Verster, Diane Victor, Voyile Voyiya, Nhlanhla Xaba, David Yule and William Zulu.

Artist and Printmaker Chad Cordeiro and the local community Youth Day printmaking workshop at the MAPSA Studio on 16 June 2023. Courtesy of MAPSA.

As Mongezi Ncombo from the Modern Art Projects South Africa in Richmond commented, “the event was an expansion of an exciting historically insightful intervention between MTN, MAPSA and the community of Richmond”.

The exhibition will run until June 2024 to allow maximum programme exposure to tourists, visitors, and the community of Richmond.

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