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More NC towns to feel the Burn


The “Blank Canvas Express” is a journey that aims to bring the AfrikaBurn culture to the people of the Northern Cape

Coming Home by Yandiswa Mazwana and Monique Fagan at AfrikaBurn. Picture: Jonx Pillemer

AFTER two successful expeditions into the Northern Cape and Free State, the third leg of the AfrikaBurn Blank Canvas Express roadshow is now heading to Richmond and De Aar.

This leg of the tour will see members of the AfrikaBurn team engaging with communities in the Northern Cape through a series of photographic exhibitions, presentations and art workshops – and also participating in a town parade, thanks to funding from the National Lotteries Commission.

AfrikaBurn is described as a “participant-created movement and experiment in decommodification, creativity, self-reliance and radical self-expression” and takes place in the heart of the Northern Cape annually, when thousands of creatives from across the globe descend upon an isolated farm adjacent to the Tankwa Karoo National Park and construct a “temporary city of art”.

The “Blank Canvas Express” is a journey that aims to bring the AfrikaBurn culture to the people of the Northern Cape – AfrikaBurn’s host province – and is an attempt at a deeper engagement into the ethos of the organisation, its activities and creative processes.

The Blank Canvas Express tour to Richmond (today to Saturday) will see photographer Simon O’Callaghan’s book, Burn – Into The Flames of Burning Art, entered into the South African Independent Publishers Awards at BookTown.

Tomorrow, O’Callaghan and AfrikaBurn co-founder Monique Schiess will be presenting a talk at the Richmond BookTown HQ. After the presentation, the team will host an informal fireside get-together along with artists Yandiswa Mazwana and Monique Fagan (of Coming Home, and eMzantsi Carnival fame) at MAP Gallery. Everyone is invited to come along and bring a story, poem, song or instrument.


From tomorrow to Saturday, Mazwana and Fagan will also be training and working with local adults and youth from Hope in South Africa’s Grassroots Centre, to turn thousands of plastic bottles saved locally from landfill into a field of flowers art installation. They will further be hosting a mask-making workshop after school, ahead of the town parade on Saturday afternoon.

In line with the Publishers Awards, an exhibition of O’Callaghan’s large-format prints will be on display at MAP Gallery, from today, until the end of November. Prints from this beautiful photographic coffee table book feature a variety of portraits and landscape shots, including some by Northern Cape artist Nathan Victor Honey, from the Sutherland Kuns Ontwikkelings Projek.

The tour then continues to De Aar, from October 29 to 31.

Following on the installation and display of the artwork titled “Coming Home” at AfrikaBurn 2018, Mazwana and Fagan (both of whom have a family connection to De Aar) will continue the artwork’s journey, after part of it – a suitcase dubbed “The Unsafe Journey”, containing rites of passage and a book of shadow stories – went missing at the event.

The process of “The Unsafe Journey” is being started over when they are hosted by Karoo artist Katie du Toit at Khazimla Centre of Excellence in De Aar, where they will co-create an intercultural crafting project involving local women.

Using personal stories, including shadow tales, they will create rag dolls and invocations, prayers and wishes for the younger generation.

This intervention is the third of five forays deeper into the Northern Cape over the coming months, after AfrikaBurn received R500 000 from the National Lotteries Commission for Blank Canvas Express arts activations.

Anyone wanting more information about the programme can e-mail [email protected]