An Art Project for Children and Adolescents
Pilotphase: December 2014 to May 2015 at Zenzeleni Waldorf School in Khayelitsha, South Africa
Further process: January 2016 to Dezember 2017 in Khayelitsha and its further surrounding
It was in 2008, when I first walked on South African soil. I could only divine how much the following year would shape me. But one special thing I already knew in this very first moment: I have arrived.
A year full of excitement, exhaust, stress, laughter, hope, confidence and trust came; and then I found myself back in Germany. Since that time there was always an inside draught to go back to South Africa, to Cape Town. I went over for a couple of visits but my studies of Art Therapy and Art Pedagogy started to keep me busy; in a very positive way. Finally I had found, what I was looking for. I was certainly delighted by the crafts I was learning, something I could take back to South Africa.
In that time I met Laura and Jette and we became very close friends. We all studied the same subjects. This friendship and our skills became the foundation of the project called Ukubona.In December 2014 until May 2015 we have been to Cape Town to work on an artistic base project with the children of a small Waldorf School in Khayelitsha. Since January I, Veronika, am back in Cape Town to continue Ukubona and let it grow.
The name Ukubona comes from the indigenous South African language Xhosa: it means “to see”. Ukubona – Seeing with Hand and Heart. The name emphasizes the purpose of our project, which is about visibility.
Children, adolescents, adults, everyone should have the chance to learn to see and work with Hand and Heart. It is all about appearance and your own inner perception. Ukubona is offering a place to encounter art. The view is directed to what is already there, the everyday matter. Inconspicuous are re-seen and valued.
Ukubona combines artistic work with its therapeutic process. There will be encounters with oneself and others, in a free and open way. The basic materials are set up by banal things. These may include found objects, items and materials that have been discarded and lie neglected by the roadside: material objects that form an overlooked backdrop to everyday life. It often is so natural to be surrounded by them that people would not even recognise them. By an artistic confrontation we are going to get to the bottom of this implicitness of the objects, man-made or neglected by man, given to us but not really appreciated. We are creating awareness as well as developing and exploring a new form of expression. It is all about transformation and esteem of one’s own particular environment. Commonplace objects become visible and getting valued in a new way. We will learn to recognize the significance of the small and ordinary. We wish to challenge children’s implicit assumptions about their situation through an artistic engagement with this environment, raising awareness and creating parameters for a new dialogue.
We are certainly going to use Recycling- and Land Art. Next to that, everyone can have his or her own artistic research by using all kind of materials and forms like sculpturing, drawing and painting with different colours, writing texts or poems as well as finding expression in movement. There will be group settings as well as space for individual work. The individual resources and strengths can find their way of expression and manifesting in a room of togetherness. Thereby we can enable a future of new perspectives and evolvement.
The creative process provides a special access to sensuously perceived qualities/experiences. This will become tangible by participation in a process which in itself has such a positive effect on the holistic growth of an individual. Together, we aim to establish a community in which the strengths and talents of each member can be recognized and nurtured.
So far Ukubona was based at the Zenzeleni Waldorf School in Khayelitsha. Henceforward I am also going to work in varies other areas in and around Cape Town. I will enable people to be creative by offering them crayons or brushes but will in particular focus on children and adolescents.
Cape Town is a city of contrasts. The clash between past and present and the gulf between black and white South Africans goes closely side by side. Here, black South Africans who served as the cheap labour demanded by “white” Cape Town were kept segregated and at arm’s length. Segregation was officially abolished in 1990, but the social divisions remain, forming a new seclusion zone between rich and poor. It is therefore the legacy of apartheid which continues to determine the physical and social landscape of Cape Town.But nowadays one cannot say it´s just something between black and white. We are also fighting with much bigger respectively different problems.
Over one million people live in the townships, miles and miles of shanty towns. The inhabitants suffer from a range of economic, social and health problems. 75% lack full time employment and large areas of the townships have no access to the electricity or water networks. These are the areas in which I plan to locate the base of Project Ukubona and make a small, but not insignificant, contribution to redressing the social injustice which is so prevalent in Cape Town. Participating in a creative process provides a scope for self-expression which will be a sustainable benefit to the people who live in the townships.
In my first year in Cape Town (2008) I had to experience the criminal conditions to which the children of Khayelitsha are subjected in their daily lives. Instead of growing up securely, with good leisure activities and learning opportunities, crime, disease and poor job prospects belong to their everyday life.
In this difficult environment, a multi-facetted culture with the deep-seated human desire for creative expression is expressed through the traditional dance and chant. We will draw on this potential and encourage new perceptions, while introducing art therapy methods.
Zenzeleni Waldorf School
Centre for Creative Education
Selection of methods
trauma therapy (as taught by L. Reddemann)
dynamic drawings (as taught by E. Frieling)
excercises (as taught by U. Baer)
modeling with clay
We will create some lasting art, which will be carried on, even when I left. By involving the social environment there will be an opportunity for a sustainable impact. The work with the teachers can integrate the idea of Ukubona into the daily school life and even the teachers themselves can take profit out of their personal experiences. The trust in a new or different way of living will grow by the sense of achievement in our artistic work and the confirmation through others. The sampling process and the arising glance will be integrated in the common life and the community, as the scope of events will be incorporated outside and carried on across the generations.
- Process oriented experience of creative self-expression
- Discovery of children´s existing strengths and talents
- Re-enforcing children´s awareness of self and of others
- Exploring nature as a bridge to art
- Increasing awareness and appreciation of the local environment
- Encouraging a sense of community
- Enabling each individual to realize and exploit their potential
- Generation of new perspectives for the future
- scoring sheets
- videos and pictures
- compilation of development processes
- Short stories
- Creating a personal portfolio of the project
- Critical evaluation of work generated by Project Ukubona