The MTN Foundation, Modern Art Projects South Africa (MAPSA) and the Ruach Elohim Church have once again come together to commemorate and congregate on 16 June in the rural town of Richmond, Northern Cape, in celebration of Youth Day.
This year, the MTN Foundation and MAPSA presented a display of the Images of Human Rights Portfolio from the MTN Art Collection, comprising 27 striking black and white lino and woodcut pieces, created by 27 artists in recognition of South Africa’s Bill of Rights. The exhibition was designed and printed by Master Printer Jan Jordaan, from Artists for Humanity, in celebration of the adoption of the Bill of Rights by South Africa’s Constitutional Assembly on 8 May 1996.
The Ruach Elohim Ministries, once again, graciously hosted the exhibition in a historical church building, which has stood since the late 1840s, and provided the perfect backdrop for a display of such poignant historical pieces.
MTN Foundation’s Niel Nortje opened the exhibition with an introduction to the MTN Art Collection and print portfolio. This was followed by a Printmaking Workshop which hosted approximately 400 youth and children from the community of Richmond, and was led by artist and printmaker Chad Cordeiro, with assistance from the MAPSA teams.
The Images of Human Rights Portfolio was the main inspiration for the Printmaking Workshop. Participants were free to create, design and develop their interpretation of the Bill of Rights using various printmaking techniques. Its aim was to inspire and communicate the meaning and spirit of Human Rights and engage on issues that threaten our democracy, touching on topics such as racism, poor education, lack of access to healthcare, poverty, and other afflictions.
“The educational programme and printmaking workshop offered the community opportunities both to engage with contemporary art and to begin to develop technical skills in the arts. I am grateful to have worked collaboratively on a programme that utilises both MTN’s South African print archive and MAPSA’s technical and social resources to provide access to arts education and technical skills development to the community of Richmond,” said Cordeiro.
In his foreword to the Images of Human Rights Portfolio, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Human Rights lie at the heart of a democracy. In South Africa, we are blessed with a Bill of Rights that enshrines all our people’s rights and affirms every person’s right to human dignity, equality, and freedom.
“It was truly a privilege to be able to share with, and avail, MTN’s socially relevant Art Collection towards development programmes that aim to remind our youth, from especially disadvantaged rural communities, of their basic human rights. Collaborations with NPO’s like MAPSA is absolutely imperative when identifying such opportunities and responding to those educational needs,” comments Niel Nortje, MTN Art Collection Manager.
The portfolio features artists and printmakers:
Philip Badenhorst, Kim Berman, Ezekiel Budeli, Samkelo Bunu, Jonathan Comerford, Dina Cormick, Margaret Gradwell, Philippa Hobbs, Thami Jali, Norman Kaplan, Ian Marley, Azaria Mbatha, Carina Minnaar, James Mphahlele, Vedant Nanackchand, Sophie Peters, Pieta Robin, John Roome, Sibusiso Sabela, Edwine Simon, Dominic Thorburn, Andrew Verster, Diane Victor, Vuyile Voyiya, Nhlanhla Xaba, David Yule and William Zulu.
As Mongezi Ncombo from MAPSA in Richmond commented, “the event was an expansion of an exciting historically insightful intervention between MTN, MAPSA and the community of Richmond.”
The exhibition will run until June 2024 to allow maximum programme exposure to tourists, visitors, and the community of Richmond.