By Greg May ~
When Motseokae Klas Thibeletsa arrived in Smithfield during February 2016 he was on a mission to educate people, and in particular school-going children, as to the power of art as a means to improve communication within a community.
With support from the Department of Art and Culture and the University of the Free State he embarked on a series of workshops with students from all the schools in the Smithfield area taking part.
The aim was first to inspire them to create and commit images representing matters of concern both as individuals and to the community as a whole to paper. Under Thibeletsa’s expert guidance and encouragement this soon became an exciting reality, the art flowed from their minds and, through their drawing instruments, was soon captured on paper. Part one of Thibeletsa’s mission was successfully completed.
Then on to the next stage, to teach them that through dialogue about the work they had created problems facing them as individuals and as community can be addressed and resolved. Once again these “dialogue” workshops were highly successful and enthusiastically carried out by all who took part. More than 30 children from the various schools took part in the Visual Art Workshops and 100 students participated in the dialogue session, with all involved believing that the exercise was a great success.
The art produced during the Visual Art Sessions can be seen by the public at the Red Barn over the next ten days, after which it will be displayed at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. On Saturday 14 May Thibeletsa will hold a “walk-about: anyone interested is welcome to join him and hear firsthand about the project.
Motseokae Klas Thibeletsa and Richard Bollers of The Department of Art and Culture putting the work on display at the Red Barn