Maboneng Township Art Gallery
The Maboneng Township Art Gallery Project utilises a number of homes in various townships to showcase local art. The aim is to provide space for artists who may not be able to access traditional galleries to bring their works to market. Siphiwe Ngwenya initiated and coordinates this project in Alexandra, Johannesburg and in Langa and Guguletu in Cape Town. Short-term aims to develop the project include building a dance circuit as well as showcasing movies in these houses too.
AFAI has entered into a partnership with the Maboneng Arts Project – particularly in the Cape Town area – because it is a means of providing township dwellers with access to the arts so that they enjoy Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “everyone shall have the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community and to enjoy the arts…” and because it can serve as a model to be replicated in other informal or peripheral settlements across the African continent.
It also provides a very useful case study for Culture and Development.
There are opportunities for
- curators in the townships to be trained in selecting and hanging work
- guides to be trained in speaking about the art to interested tourists and buyers
- hosts in the homes where the art is displayed to manage the tourists and others who visit their homes
- artists to acquire entrepreneurial skills in how to price and market their work
This project – essentially a cultural tourism project – could
- lead to the improvement of the houses in which the art is exhibited
- lead to the general improvement of the immediate surroundings of these houses if they are on a tourist route
- lead to broader social development in the area with improved safety and better community relations and organisation to advocate for their interests
- generally result in a better quality of life for residents in the area
The Maboneng Arts Project could be self-sustaining in its own right and generate income through or for
- artists (generating local township and external markets for their work)
- guides, curators, security personnel, home hosts, etc generating income for themselves through their work on the project
- cultural entrepreneurs initiating income-generating projects associated with the project e.g. transport, guest houses, restaurants, etc.
Aims of the Project (regarding AFAI’s involvement)
- to provide training, up-skilling, mentoring and capacity-building across the project to ensure its sustainability through trained leadership
- to explore and assist in harnessing the entrepreneurial and income-generating elements of the project
- to undertake comprehensive research in all matters related to the project and to publish the research as a case study in culture and development
- to build on this project as a means of providing other forms of art and access to the arts for people who are generally marginalised from the arts mainstream
- to develop and pilot models that could be replicated in other peripheral city areas across the African continent
Training & Research
AFAI will, in association with Maboneng and the beneficiary community
- devise and run appropriate training courses in a variety of subjects including curating, public speaking, financial management, project management, marketing, safety and security, pricing, etc
- manage and host at least monthly meetings of the key guides, curators and hosts to debrief them, gain their feedback and utilise this to input into their training programmes
- monitor the project, training and implementation through researchers, write up such research, test it with participants and evaluate the impact of the project in terms of human, social and economic development
Read more on the official Maboneng Township Project website