ART – SAN CULTURE
!Khwa ttu (KT) is a San Culture and Education Center on the West Coast, dedicated to celebrating San culture – past, present and future. Its key goals include restoring and sharing San heritage. The opening this week of an exhibition of contemporary art produced in Botswana by the Kuru Art Project will highlight the efforts of !Khwa ttu to empower the San to reclaim and share their heritage in their own way.
The Colours of Change Art Exhibition, as it is called, is supported by the National Arts Council, National Heritage Council, National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and Ubuntu Foundation. It will run for three months, offering a unique opportunity to experience San commentary on their present circumstances.
Originating in 1990 in D’Kar, Western Botswana, the Kuru Art Project has produced contemporary art that is original and remarkable in character. Dating back to the era of rock paintings, art has always played an essential role in San society. The Kuru artists, in developing their own artistic voice, are creating awareness about the loss of their hunter-gatherer existence and the impact it has had on their lives.
In a society in which the hunter-gatherer, healer, shaman, dancer and artist are often united in one person, visual art becomes an expressive outlet for the traditions and life experiences of the San communities. As one of the artists, Coex’ae Dad, states, “I do not see myself as just another artist. Being an artist is part of my existence as much as being Ncoa Khoe (San) is part of my existence.” !Khwa ttu strives to share the spirit of the San people by enabling these artists to transcend cultural limitations and reach an international audience through the centre.
Since its inception, the artists of the Kuru Art Project have won awards and become well known. Their work is now found in private and public collections throughout the world and has been used for several publications and book covers, a Botswana Postal Services stamp collection and on the tails of British Airways airplanes.
The Colours of Change exhibition opened on Friday, 7 March, and runs until end May at the !Khwa ttu (KT) San Culture and Education Centre near Yzerfontein on the R27 West Coast Road.
About !Khwa ttu:!Khwa ttu is dedicated to the culture and heritage of the San people of Southern Africa. It is a San culture and education centre. Become informed about the world of San issues by the San people themselves. It is a vibrant and positive joint venture between the San people represented by the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA) and the Swiss philanthropic UBUNTU Foundation. By combining adventure, relaxation and education !Khwa ttu will leave a lasting impression and a new understanding of the phrase “San Spirit Shared” www.khwattu.org
Photos by Cheryl Rumbak