Friday, 6 March 2015

Our Imaginations take Flight! A Story-telling Workshop for our Artists

The Art Project enjoyed an inspiring story-telling workshop from February 2nd – 6th. Zukiswa Pakama. originates from Hamburg, went on to study Journalism and now works in Cape Town. She was asked by Carol to lead the sessions on the theme of Birds and the Environment, especially to inspire our artists for the production of the new major works for Grahamstown Festival 2015.

We learned and shared songs about birds, we found out how birds can be omens and we found out how the bird feathers can be used in different ways, for instance by the Masai people of Kenya or by the Sangomas here. We talked about the relationship between birds and humans, and we compared traditional stories about birds with some interesting scientific facts. For instance, did you know that the Kori bustard weighs a magnificent 19 kilos?! Or that the Intsikizi Southern Hornbill can predict the weather!

One afternoon we had visitors to our workshop from the UK, so we took the opportunity to tell our own bird stories and sing songs. It was a wonderful celebration of the new ideas that we had been sharing.

By the end of the week we felt excited to begin designing our new works of art and to integrate some of the important facts and myths that Zuki and our artist colleagues introduced us to. We are continuing our research into local birds and stories about them and you will all enjoy the finished pieces in Grahamstown this winter; colourful, vibrant and bursting with our imaginations!

Nomfusi Nkani
Brenda Fishwick