Writing Art History Since 2002

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The projects Hello Wolk, Tears Become Rain & PLANTed were announced as the winners at the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch.

Noncedo Gxekwa, Nqweba Dam at Sunrise, Graaff-Reinet, 2020.

How can an arts-based idea address a pressing social challenge creatively? How can creative thinking influence, affect, or simply make us more aware of societal conditions, in our world today? How can art start a conversation? How can art ignite a vigorous debate? How can art even present a workable solution? How can art show a way to make an impact on the age of the Anthropocene?

All of the above questions are pointing towards making the potential social impact of arts projects a decisive factor that counts towards, that makes social impact central to, and the driving force of, South African arts-based practices.

The Rupert Art Foundation and the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch launched the Social Impact Arts Prize in 2019, calling for great creative ideas, driven by precisely these same questions. Following a rigorous and inspiring assessment of the submissions by an international panel of judges, HELLO WOLK, TEARS BECOME RAIN and PLANTed were announced as the awarded projects:

HELLO WOLK by studioMAS and Gustav Praekelt, is a water-scarcity focused project that begins as an artwork, provides a certain amount of water, whilst also connecting to the community digitally.  The artwork will be built in the image of a rain cloud that collects water from the atmosphere which can be used to water a garden beneath the cloud structure.

The cloud will also operate as a symbol of the digital cloud – offering free community WiFi and as a hub for community-based information. Young women living in the town will be taught to code, and update the cloud with Health, Education and Literacy content, as well as information the community feels, is needed.

PLANTed, by Lorenzo Nassimbeni, Andrew Brose & Casper Lundie, is a public project which gives visibility to the loss of local knowledge of medicinal plants and recognising the under-represented disciplines of craft, tech know-how, local food culture, architecture and indigenous languages.

This project will celebrate the plant life of Graaff-Reinet, whilst engaging local groups in the production and presentation of a central built structure for artists, designers and the local community to exhibit their plant knowledge and bring to light these overlooked aspects of culture and place that are often concealed.

TEARS BECOME RAIN, by David Brits & Raiven Hansmann, is a mass choir programme in response to the climate crisis.

The creation of this choir aims to instil hope and unite a diverse community by singing together for rain. Drawing on the rich choral history of the greater region, this project uses song as a tool to educate people about our precious water resources– whilst uniting people in their shared predicament. The narrative of Tears Become Rain is a story that follows the journey of a young San boy in a time of great drought. Crying, his tears of grief turn into rain and restore abundance to the world. Connecting contemporary lives to a story from our shared pasts is intended as an inspirational act.

Imagine what your creativity can do, develop your big ideas and start making a change in your own life.

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