Little Artists exhibition in South Africa
Life on the street in Johannesburg can be dangerous, especially for kids. "Little Artists" offers them free art tuition – and new perspectives.
Giving disadvantaged children the opportunity to overcome their circumstances – that is one goal of the Little Artists project in South Africa. For over 16 years, it has been providing rehabilitated street kids and those from poor inner city communities with free art tuition. Deutsche Bank South Africa Foundation has supported the project since 2004. Over and above the financial support, Deutsche Bank hosts an annual exhibition and staff who generously support the initiative. This year, in celebration of the advancement of the teachers’ art and skill as well as that of the top students, the bank arranged for an exhibition and auction at CIRCA on Jellicoe, a contemporary art gallery in Rosebank, on 18 April 2013.
Clients were overwhelmed by the level of skill and the quality of the work. They showed their support with their wallets at the very engaging and humorous auction where each of the 14 artists sold one of their paintings. The professional auctioneer, Melonie Lubbe of Auction inc, volunteered her time and helped raised more than was hoped for. The money will be paid directly to the artists and the programme.
Without education or intervention, street children don’t have much to look forward to. The Little Artists project uses art to reach these children and teach them how to lead productive lives. For many of these children, it’s a first exposure to the joy and the rewards of creative expression.
“In black communities very few kids know what art is.”
Award winning initiative
Deutsche Bank has been honoured in 2009 with an award from Business and Arts South Africa for its support of the project.
Learning life skills
With the bank’s support, Little Artists set up permanent teaching facilities at a high school in Johannesburg in 2008. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, up to 40 children attend art classes where they eat together, discuss art and paintings and practice new techniques. They also gain valuable life skills, such as the importance of preparation and the discipline needed to produce works of art.
Some of the children who first picked up a paintbrush at a Little Artists class have gone on to become award-winning artists. Others have become teachers of art. But Little Artists is life-changing for everyone who takes part, providing purpose and direction and developing the confidence and the skills to pursue any career.