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.

Deutsche Bank sets a stage for Little Artists

Giving disadvantaged children the opportunity to overcome their hardships – that is one goal of the Little Artists project in South Africa. 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 a self-supporting life. For many of these children, it’s a first exposure to the joy and the rewards of creative expression. 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 employees who generously support the initiative.

This year’s exhibition and auction was arranged by Deutsche in partnership with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on their premises in late May. Once again, the guests were overwhelmed by the level of skill and the quality of the work. They showed their support at the very engaging auction – within the first week 63 artworks were sold for around R300,000. The walls of numerous homes and offices in Johannesburg, including the JSE, will now be adorned with the Little Artists’ emotive paintings.

Besides getting the possibility to exhibit their works, a group of Little Artists were taken to London to visit famous galleries and museums. During their stay, the artists had the chance to participate in an online auction – well accompanied by Deutsche Bank’s local employees.

“In black communities very few kids know what art is.”

Edward Selematsela Little Artists co-founder and internationally renowned artist.

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.

“Little Artist” exhibition, April 2013

“Little Artist” exhibition, April 2013

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.

New direction

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.

“Little Artist” exhibition, April 2013

“Little Artist” exhibition, April 2013

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