Following a rigorous and inspiring assessment of the submissions by an international panel of judges, three projects have been announced as the winners in the inaugural Social Impact Arts Prize. The winners were announced on Thursday, 12 March, at a gala event hosted at the Rupert Museum, Stellenbosch.
Each of the projects offer compelling and creative arts-based ideas to start a conversation and to address a particularly pressing social challenge that confronts the Karoo-based town of Graaff-Reinet.
These are 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. This artwork – created in the hieroglyphic style of the Khoi-Khoi and the San (makers of mankind’s first artworks in the Karoo caves of Graaff-Reinet) – 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 serving 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 any additional information that 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 places that are often concealed.
Tears Become Rain
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 instill hope and unite a diverse community by singing together for rain. Drawing on the rich choral history of the greater region, this project uses the 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.
The awarded projects will be installed in the town of Graaff-Reinet between April and July 2020. All the finalists’ preparatory work will also be exhibited in Graaff-Reinet at the Jan Rupert Art Centre from April 2020.