You could almost taste the excitement when 60 local artists and crafters gathered in the Martie Lotz Hall yesterday, to receive their Clarens Creative Hands Certificates. The Creative Hands project has been working with these artists and crafters for nearly two months, and it has been extremely exciting to see how the Art Aid team have managed to coax and inspire our local artists, giving them the encouragement and confidence needed to go forward and establish successful careers in a most demanding field. It was a very special occasion. Not least because we had the opportunity to meet Dr Narissa Ramdhini, CEO, of the Ifa Lethu Foundation. You very quickly get the impression that she is not only committed but also extremely determined not only to enable artists and crafters to build sustainable businesses, but also to preserve our cultural heritage with skills from the past being developed and passed on to the next generation. What’s more Ifa Lethu is committed to continue helping our local artists and hope to establish a retail outlet for these talented artists and crafters right here in Clarens.
Ms Rosemary Mangope CEO of the National Arts Council (NAC) followed up with a most inspiring talk. She spoke from her heart – and I have no doubt that every artist in the room was moved by what she had to say, as she identified their qualities: the need to dare to be different, and to always, always be authentic.
The welcome address by Mr Clem Harrington from the Municipality was also encouraging, and he indicated that the Municipality would be working hand in hand with Ifa Lethu to establish a retail outlet for our artists and crafters in Clarens, and that they are working on the possibility of renovating the local Museum building into a suitable retain outlet. Mr Harrington also mentioned that there was a possibility of marketing Clarens South Africa products in our twin town Clarens in Switzerland.
Lerato Moloi expressed thanks to Art Aid, Ifa Lehtu, Department of Arts and Culture, the LED, and SEDA on behalf of the participants. Joseph Mathe (DAC) and Carolyn Schoeman (Ifa Lethu) closed with a vote of thanks.
The certificates were presented – amidst much hand-clapping and ululation. What a wonderful event. There is no doubt that this is just the beginning of something big for Clarens.