VANSA projects at COP17

VANSA (Visual Arts Network of SA), the Cape Craft and Design Institute and Business and Arts SA (BASA) have worked with the national Department of Arts and Culture around the development and realisation of a creative programme for COP17, complementing and synergising with existing initiatives, and in close cooperation with the Department of Environmental Affairs. VANSA worked on the visual and public art aspects of the programme, and together with a diversity of partners and its network, have managed to pull together a range of compelling projects.

The programme has sought to use the opportunity of COP17 to develop projects which bring the DAC's Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy to bear on the global challenge to address climate change.

‘In developing the interventions around COP17, we have sought to marry the need to create work and opportunity while growing awareness of climate change; proposing innovative solutions and responses to environmental issues while at the same time growing the market for creative goods and services.” says Joseph Gaylard, Director of VANSA. “The programme has mobilised existing initiatives, projects and creative people from across the country, with a special focus on the creative talent resident in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal.”

Some of the projects that have been realised during the course of COP17 under the auspices of VANSA include:

A series of ‘clean graffiti’ murals across Durban that involve urban street artists Dutch Ink from Ethekwini working together with rural artists from the St Lucia Wetland area, a world heritage site. Internationally acclaimed Durban based artist/activist/architectural collective Dala is facilitating the creative process of generating and realising imagery with the artists, with creative input in project design and development from public art company Such Initiative.

The SABC Collection is staging the SCAPE exhibition at the International Convention Centre, where delegations from 194 countries are deliberating on all of our futures– a curated exhibition of artworks from the Collection which reflects on, questions and reimagines our relationship with land and in all of its historical, social and political complexity.

Leading eco-creative and designer Heath Nash is working with local artisans and craftspeople in the development of structures, devices and objects of wonder made from recycled materials that delegates can interact with on the Durban beachfront – a real-time product development workshop in public space that should inspire participants and delegates alike.

Visitors to the Durban Botanic Gardens can experience Something that Rolls Up, a participatory artwork that unfolds during the course of COP17 in proximity to the spectacular Living Beehive, a 14 metre high installation implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust with support from the Department of Environmental Affairs and the UN Industrial Development Organisation. The concept for the artwork – developed by public art company Such Initiative, and realised in collaboration with local beadworkers - is visually and metaphorically based on the pangolin, an animal noted for its ability to rapidly adapt to changing conditions and secure food sources.

A temporary public art installation on the beachfront has been specially developed for COP17 by renowned Durban artist Greg Streak, reflecting on the interwoven and conflicted worlds of finance, urban development and the environment.

Teams of young artists mobilised by the Durban-based organisations, ArtSpace and The Collective are doing action-painting performances in public spaces across Durban and a novel variation on the international practice of Yarn-Bombing. VANSA KZN has also organising an exhibition of artworks made from recycled materials at Gallery 415.

There is an installation at O R Tambo International Airport of Tomorrows Joy, an extraordinary 14 metre tall artwork constructed from 300 kilogrammes of bottle-tops, conceptualised and realised by Johannesburg based public art company, Such Initiative.

Artwork from artists and arts organisations from across Kwazulu-Natal has been showcased in major accommodation venues throughout Durban, creating opportunities to access new buyers and markets for the creative talent of the region.

Support has also been given for a photographic exhibition on the impact of climate change on women working on farms together with a retail outlet for art and craft from three organizations: The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, the Woza Moya Project and Fancy Stitch will provide product and materials promoting their programmes at the recently renovated Pumphouse space on the Durban beachfront.

The screening of documentary films from across the developing world exploring the impact of climate change, informing people of critical issues facing the African continent, and providing a platform for civil society organisations to engage in constructive dialogue with one another and governments have been organised by the TriContinental Film Festival team and will be shown at four venues across Durban - The Peoples Space, the BAT Centre, the Ekhaya Community Arts Centre in KwaMashu and Greenpeace tent.

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More information can be found on: click here, or COP17 Art Maps can be picked up in many public spaces.

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