On the cold and wet Monday morning of 7 September, the first CCIBA Creative Workshops Programme kicked off at the Department of Visual Arts, Stellenbosch University. The programme offered five different courses, taught by experienced lecturers and artists who had each designed introductory short courses for the week. The workshops were open to students and members of the public, some coming from as far as Johannesburg to attend. The University’s Division for Community Interaction further sponsored six bursaries which enabled five talented and ambitious young people to participate in the programme.
Lectures and practical sessions started from the very first morning: the photography group under Jackie Murray got to know their cameras thoroughly, Andy Mason put the cartooning and graphic novel group to work on a meditative ‘Zen drawing’ exercise, and within a couple of hours, Lyndi Sales’ group of book artists had covered the floor of their studio with paint-stained pages for their handmade books. Under the direction of Verna Jooste the amateur jewellers first had to put aside visions of grand designs and learn how to drill and saw, while Marjorie van Heerden started her course with extensive lectures on the ins and outs of children’s book illustration. By five o’clock, most participants left looking slightly over-whelmed, but already showing off the fruits of their hard work and eager to return for a second day of learning.
The five-day courses focussed mostly on practical work and skills development, and these sessions were variously augmented with theoretical lectures, studio visits and talks by visiting artists. An optional evening programme was offered, and on Monday evening cartoonists Jeremy Nel and Gavin Thompson gave an insightful look into the world of political and strip cartooning. On Tuesday evening, the animation film Persepolis was screened and André Crous facilitated a discussion on this award-winning adaptation from the graphic novel by Marianne Satrapi. Photographer Paul Weinberg presented his film, Then and Now, on Thursday night, sharing his experiences and memories as documentary photographer during the last decades of apartheid.
At the end of the week everyone had a chance to display their work, and sip some locally produced wine at a tasting presented by the Bottelary Hills Wine Centre. Prof Keith Dietrich, head of the Department of Visual Arts and director of CCIBA, handed out certificates of completion to all participants. Each participant further left with several artworks completed during the week, as well as a wealth of information and new skills. In the words of one participant; “I never knew one could learn so much in one week!”
The dates and courses planned for the CCIBA Creative Workshops Programme 2010 will be announced shortly.