Komani arts revival takes off

TO PAY HOMAGE: The mural of Pat Matshikiza is decorating the Queenstown Art Centre as part of a partnership with the Bat Art Centre to revive the arts in Komani       Picture: NTSIKELELO QOYO


The Queenstown Art Centre is getting a facelift and inviting all lovers of art to participate in the revival of the arts in Komani.

It was long been their goal to have work done on the art centre so as to inform people what is done there and invite them to participate in any art they might be interested in,” said Nompundelo Nyamazana, cultural affairs manager at the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture (DSRAC).

The face lift, which includes a mural on the outside of the building, is part of a partnership with the Bat Art Centre in Durban, aimed at developing the arts in the province through art centres, according to Nyamazana.

The mural includes the faces of famous artists like Pat Matshikiza and Margaret Mcingana; pioneers of jazz in Komani. The partnership includes other cultural arts like craft and design which also received funding.

Part of the funding will go into sponsoring free music lessons to help children get tuition in different instruments. Music theory lessons will be conducted by Mlungisi Gigana and practicals by the Queenstown Arts Centre Jazz Band,” said Nyamazana.

She said they had also conducted a workshop for choreography to develop dance in Chris Hani which still lags behind Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City Metro.

Nyamazana said they would also sending 10 designers to Durban as part of the Social Cohesion and Cross Cultures Fashion project. The designers had been selected after submitting works for a fashion show that will be held later in the year.

Bulelwa Nise, manager at the Bat Centre said this was a partnership that started in 2014 with Eastern Cape art centres.  She said the program was made possible by the National Arts Council and it involved training art centre managers in governance, financial accountability and successful programming.

“We chose Queenstown because of its potential as well as challenges facing artists in the region, like lack of funding and buyers. The centre is well designed and located, has experienced artists and has the potential to be a drawcard.

“It is also home to national and international artists like Bra Pat Matshikiza, Stompie Mavi, Margaret Mcingana and many more celebrated legends. Komani Art Centre is the spiritual home of artists past and present and that is what the murals depict,” said Nise.

She also said this initiative was to foster social cohesion between the different ethnic groups in South Africa, while giving opportunities to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We want to open the doors of Culture and Learning to all children in the surrounding townships and villages, give hope to the artists who are graduates and lack opportunities to explore their creativity in business. Komani’s Art Centre is situated next to a taxi rank and a shopping mall. Artists must be given the opportunity to showcase and get business opportunities.

“The Social Cohesion and Cross Cultures Fashion project is building bridges between the neighbours, AmaXhosa and amaZulu. It is to heal the wounds of the past and to show that we are AbeNguni,” she said.