The NWU Gallery has been a leading voice and space on the NWU Potchefstroom Campus, providing a creative environment that is vibrantly inclusive and transformative. It furthers these ideals through its many projects with a strong focus on upliftment, community development and educational programmes. The institution aims to broaden socio-political and cultural perspectives through discussion and thought. The North-West University’s students, staff and the surrounding community, as well as artists from the North West province and beyond, are offered new possibilities and opportunities by means of collaborative projects and exhibitions. The NWU Gallery is being utilised as a space for cultural expression that serves as a meeting point for people from all walks of life. The NWU Gallery has established itself as an invaluable space in which progressive arts and culture have been flourishing over the past couple of years. As a public and educational art gallery, the NWU Gallery connects the cultural life of the NWU to that of the wider community through a lively and critical programme of exhibitions, publications and events that foster awareness, understanding and appreciation of the arts and our surrounding environment. It is known as one of the leading non-profit galleries with reference to its programme, the artists it attracts as well as the talent it develops of the people moving through its doors. The NWU Gallery is much more than just an art gallery – a well-known brand has been established which stands for the development of all forms of arts and culture, in line with the values of an equal and fair society, and an inclusive university environment.
The MTN SA Foundation adopted a strategy to guide it in its aim of becoming a leader in connecting communities for self-reliance. This strategy concentrates its resources so that communities benefit from coordinated interventions across focus areas. Community level corporate social investment (CSI) interventions work best when they address more than one community need, and that development is most sustained when family stability, good health, dependable infrastructure, quality education and innovation creativity for entrepreneurship are all present together. Our policy is to bring about meaningful, measurable and sustainable change that will lay the foundations for disadvantaged and rural communities to become more self-reliant. To this end, all our interventions place a strong emphasis on capacity-building and empowerment.
What will be the focus of your stand at FNB JoburgArtFair and how do you aim to use it as a platform for artists?
A selection of works from Figuratively Speaking, an exhibition which comprises out of NWU Art Collection and MTN Art Collection works, will be shown. Both art collections are about 1 400 works strong, and boast with locally and internationally acclaimed artists. A catalogue of the exhibition has been published and will be on sale. A custom designed digital educational programme is also being developed with FNB JoburgArtFair in mind, based on the collaborative and award winning educational programme by the NWU Gallery and MTN Foundation. Both these institutions place a strong focus on educational development within the South African arts and culture sector.
What role does your organisation play as a platform for artists? What positive outcomes have you seen from your current projects?
The MTN Foundation and the NWU Gallery have built a mutually beneficial relationship, seeing many successful, meaningful and acclaimed projects and exhibitions coming to light over the past couple of years. From Conversations we do not have in connection with The Voices of Women Museum (2015), to Figuratively Speaking (2016), which saw the MTN Foundation and the NWU Gallery join forces to present a boundary-shifting exhibition, featuring select works out of both the MTN Art Collection and the NWU Art Collection. The catalogue of the Figuratively Speaking exhibition saw the immortalisation of this project through the capturing of the works that were on show not only to the university and Potchefstroom community, but also to a wider audience in the North West province and beyond. The pinnacle of the MTN Foundation and the NWU Gallery’s relationship was that of the awarded Art Safari for Kids, which put the educational and developmental need in the visual arts first, during the Aardklop National Arts Festival in 2016. This project, with the support of the MTN Foundation, is to be presented again during 2017, building on the successes of the past. Custom designed educational material, based on Figuratively Speaking and Art Safari for Kids, is also being created for FNB JoburgArtFair – where the NWU Gallery and MTN Foundation will promote and share their collaborative work.
What are your organisation’s plans for the rest of 2017 and 2018?
Various workshops and collaborative training programmes are being presented in-house, as well as to the public, by the NWU Gallery and MTN Foundation throughout 2017, including the Aardklop National Arts Festival. The NWU Gallery will exhibit Mohau Modisakeng, Francois Pretorius, a Coral Fourie retrospective, a large scale debut group show (details to be unveiled), Beezy Bailey and others in the remainder of 2017.
Have a look at the FNB JoburgArtFair Platforms here:Friends of the Johannesburg Art Gallery The Market Photo Workshop Artist Proof Studio The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios NWU Gallery M Studio Community SA Mint Kuenyehia Trust For Contemporary Art Orange Babies