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Provenance

 

We all know that the words we use can promote the value of something or diminish it. We also know that a product can be deemed valuable in the hands of one person, but less valuable in the hands of another.

I met Ma Eunice Jabulani as a young craft developer in 2002. I was reacquainted with her in 2016, 14 years after we first met. What struck me when I revisited her area, was that not much had changed. Over those years, craft contracts came and went; sometimes ending abruptly, with no other means of income to fill the gap. Yet, over those years, these woven baskets have paid for: a battery to charge phones, a solar panel, bricks for a new room, college fees for a child, and a myriad other necessities.

In the field of craft development – it is often the creator, the “crafter”, whose work is undervalued and underpaid. While they are an essential part of the value chain, they are often the weakest. And by weakest, I mean: vulnerable, expendable, and generally, the poorest. That same product, in the hands of (a reseller) one who can weave a compelling tale of provenance, accompanied by glossy images and online presence, can increase the value of that piece exponentially. Thirty (30) % of earnings from prints sold of this artwork will go to developing workshops on income generation strategies for the KwaJobe craft group.

100cm x 70cm | 39.37in x 27.55in

Original Painting (oil on canvas): R9000 excl. courier

Ma Dudu

 

The first thing you notice about Ma Dudu is her face; it is expressive, open and quite frankly, radiant. She has a mischievous sense of humour and laughs often. Although she faces a number of physical challenges, Ma Dudu is always at the craft workshops, weaving away with the rest of the group. We see her walking along the sandy roads of KwaJobe, a bag of ilala in one hand.

The groups is made up of mainly older women. When we ask why their daughters are not learning to weave, they laugh (and sigh) and tell us that young women want real jobs, with a proper salary. Earning an income from craft is not reliable, and much effort goes into an activity that yields little financial rewards. Thirty (30) % of earnings from prints sold of this artwork will go to developing workshops on income generation strategies for the KwaJobe craft group.

100cm x 70cm | 39.37in x 27.55in

Original Painting (oil on canvas): R9000 excl. courier

Ma Khethiwe

 

Ma Khethiwe is a member of the KwaJobe craft group. She has green fingers and grows the most beautifully luscious vegetables in the fertile soil of the iSimangaliso Wetlands.

During Covid-19 lockdown, it has been the sale of vegetables, not craft, that have sustained many of the KwaJobe crafters. For rural households, lockdown made life just that much harder. Grown children working in cities like Durban and Johannesburg, lost their jobs and returned home. Children, no longer attending school, lost out on that vital daily meal provided by the school. Suddenly, parents had to find enough food for additional mouths.

Post lockdown, the women have managed to secure a deal with a local man to sell their vegetables at the Spar grocery store in Jozini. Thirty (30) % of earnings from prints sold of this artwork will go to developing workshops on income generation strategies for the KwaJobe craft group.

100cm x 70cm | 39.37in x 27.55in

Original Painting (oil on canvas): R9000 excl. courier

Shared Spaces

 

Between 2017-2019 I worked with a team of researchers on The Narratives of Home and Neighbourhood project. An NRF funded research project through the Urban Futures Centre, in Durban, South Africa, it was encouraged creative methodologies. Shared Spaces is from an image captured during fieldwork in Quarry Road West informal settlement.

During the COVID19 lock down, I’ve thought often of the people living in informal settlements. Luxuries like space, indoor ablutions, and more than adequate shelter, are slim-to-none. It is sobering and humbling. A lesson learnt from our research was the incredible community spirit and neighbourliness that is shared among residents (and the established community surrounding QRW). Far more than I have ever experienced in my community. To learn more about this project (and other sites researched), visit here and click on Quarry Road. For the full PDF version of the research, click here.

120cm x 80cm | 47.2in x 31.5in

Original Painting (oil on canvas): R12 500 excl. courier

To God be The Glory

 

I’ve known Sandile Ndolvu for 10 years, since he was a 13 year old boy. I met him at Izulu Orphan Projects, an NPO I volunteered at, before I started I Learn to Live – Ngifundela Ukuphila.

Sandile is one of life’s happy-go-lucky individuals. Always smiling, always dressed to impress and to raise eyebrows. Currently he works at a driver at Transnet, but when I asked if he wished he could be doing something else, he said, “I’d love my own business, I’m not sure what though.”

So I imagined a small business for him – a spaza shop in his community. A place that reflects his quirkiness and meets some of the needs of the community he lives in.

100cm x 75cm | 39.37in x 29.52in

Original Painting (oil on canvas): R9000 excl. courier

painting of school children looking at drone

First Flight

 

The reference for this painting was taken by Langa Zulu, at a 4iR event, hosted at the local primary school next to I Learn to Live – Ngifundela Ukuphila (NPO). AlgoAtWork, along with the Lab Mobile, spent a morning blowing the minds of the primary school children. From whizzing drones to virtual reality goggles – the children experienced many ‘first times’ that day. The image captured by Langa is the moment a group of boys watches a drone begin its ascent (and a young girl trying to find her way in).

We work in an environment where the majority of children have no access to computers at home, limited access to smart phones, and very limited data to watch online educational resources that will help them improve their studies. Children in rural areas are already significantly disadvantaged when it comes to access to tertiary studies and employment. I Learn to Live is trying to ensure that these children are not left behind.

Seventy (70) % of proceeds will go to I Learn to Live’s technology programme.

120cm x 84cm

Original Painting (oil on canvas): SOLD. 

Prints available here

black dancers

Jerusalema

 

Love it or hate it, the song Jerusalema, has been the soundtrack to a very difficult year. Dance challenges swept the globe: some brilliant, others painful to watch.

The one that caught my attention was by the African Kids dance crew in Tanzania. It has had 25 million downloads, yet not a peep of recognition in their home country. I found the crew on Instagram and we discussed a painting I had in mind that might help them raise money for equipment, and other needs. According to director, Nakam, life hasn’t been easy for the dancers, both personally and professionally.

There are days when there’s no transport money, or money for location fees to shoot videos. Nakam feels frustrated as a team leader who would like to do more for his group, but can’t. Seventy (70) % of earnings from prints sold of this artwork will go to the African Kids dance crew.

120cm x 84cm

Original Painting (oil on canvas): SOLD. 

Prints available here