The project “Art & Culture make the world go round” was funded in 2017 on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via Engagement Global gGmbH and combines two crews HipHop Education South Africa and EachOneTeachOne from Germany, who work together on SDGs 11 of Agenda2030, making cities and settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. In Bremerhaven and Cape Town, events, workshops, actions and debates with people from local districts were held about art and culture.
Social Sculpture | Smile
SMILE was created on the streets of Woodstock, a former industrial district of Cape Town that is currently undergoing gentrification processes. In a side street of Victoria Rd. we met one morning with the Brother and Sisters from the streets. The cornerstone of the contact to the people living there was laid in advance by a co-opted member of our crew. The idea for the social sculpture SMILE is simple and owed to the circumstances of the street: we design directly in the public space, so we don’t have tables and tools at our disposal, but only work with our hands. And the laughter that unites us… SMILE looks for what unites all people, regardless of origin, status or language.
How do you visualize a laugh? This question is the core of the project. I wanted to develop human laughter, put its spontaneity and contagion on paper and looked for the appropriate means. The decision to work without further aids gave me the idea of using the immediate power of laughter as a brush, as well as conventional food colours for painting, because they are suitable for consumption. So the evening before the action I mixed a large number of different colours with water. The choice of paper fell on white bread paper bags, which represent an ideal extension to food colouring due to their playability, shape, feel and meaning. Together with the Brothers and Sisters the first part of SMILE was created on the street: First the paper bags were blown up and formed into a balloon, then a sip of the colored water was drunk and then again powerfully pushed onto the paper. The situation was so funny for everyone involved that the laughter quickly manifested itself on the paper.
After the colours had dried, I opened and smoothed the bread bags. The paper revealed delicate colors and powerful patterns – the power of a manifested laugh as well as the direct connection to the person through his left DNA. I decided to complement the patterns with fine graphics. Impressions taken during a trip through Khayelitsha – one of the largest townships in South Africa – were transferred onto the paper with black lines. Finally, I commented on the small everyday scenes with a high-quality 23-carat ducat gold leaf. A symbolic act that imposes a monetary value on the “worthless” materials and artificially elevates the pictures to a work of art.
Opening of “Smile” at the Greatmore Studios in Cape Town Woodstock, 2017
Afterwards an event organised by our project took place in the neighbouring Greatmore Studios, a gallery for contemporary art, to which the Brothers and Sisters were also invited. Many people living on the streets are often forbidden to participate in public life, such as visiting galleries, cafés or shops. With the exhibition of SMILE, however, the social power relations were questioned, since the Brothers and Sisters exhibited in a place to which they usually had no access. The social sculpture SMILE offered them the opportunity to appear as fully-fledged artists*.
Social Sculpture | Protea Gold
B.E.S.T. College in Cape Town is a non-profit organization that aims to give learners who have not been able to cope with mainstream education a second chance to get the future they deserve. Here they can complete a vocational training or later do the Abitur at a regular school. The college offers education and not rehabilitation. Here, too, existing contacts of HipHop Education South Africa provided the opportunity for EachOneTeachOne to offer workshops in one morning. Working with food colouring and bread paper proved to be very sociable and inspiring for me. Together with Sipho Kotobason Ndebele I prepared a short workshop with the same technique but a new idea.
The King Protea is the coat of arms and national flower of South Africa. It is a landmark, so the work with the symbol was very popular. The young people modelled a large protea from paper and use the same technique with the food colouring to make it colourful together. Sipho added nine terms to the leaves of the wildflower, a leaf symbolic of each Cape Province. These terms were the focal points of the respective provinces (federal states), which stand out or are promoted particularly. Since the young people came from different Cape Provinces, personal experiences and stories flowed into the leaves of the PROTEA GOLD.
Workshop at B.E.S.T. College in Kapstadt Woodstock, 2017
From South Africa to Germany
The second project phase took place in Bremerhaven in September. HipHop Education came from South Africa to Germany and continued the cooperation with EachOneTeachOne. A detailed press documentation of all projects, actions, artists* and participants* can be found at Agenda2030.online. Until today the crews are active in the further development of the project.
The Agenda2030 as the basis for cooperation
On 25 September 2015, at a special summit in New York, the member states of the United Nations adopted the Agenda2030 with the aim of improving the living conditions of all people and at the same time preserving our planet. The aim of the Agenda is to make global development ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. The ambitious global transformation programme of Agenda 2030 is intended to give future generations the prospect of a dignified life. The weakest and most vulnerable are to be reached first (“leave no one behind” principle).
The sustainability goals (SDG) are preceded by the ‘5Ps’ as core messages: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. They are intended to serve as guiding and groundbreaking principles and range from the eradication of poverty and hunger to high-quality education, reduced inequality, good governance and climate protection. The goals are inextricably linked and interdependent. They form the basis for international and sustainable development for the whole of humanity.
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