DBSA PROSPERITY MURALS
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has embarked on an ambitious mural project on national scale in partnership with the Department of Visual Arts of the University of Pretoria. The project coordinator is Prof. Elfriede Dreyer of the Department of Visual Arts.
The project entitled the "DBSA Prosperity murals" entails the execution of mural paintings on buildings in South Africa on the theme of "A prosperous and integrated region progressively free of poverty and dependency". Sub-themes directly relating to specific social issues in each region are addressed in the murals' design. The murals are large in scale and will become landmarks in the earmarked urban areas. It is envisaged that the project will be completed in March 2011and will include murals in several provinces. Five murals have already been completed in Attridgeville, Tshwane and one large mural in Durban.
In each earmarked area, fifteen community members and/or Grade 11 - 12 learners are identified by the various community forums to participate in the project. They then undergo a two-day training course in art and design skills offered by staff and students of the Department of Visual Arts. During this workshop the designs for the murals are developed, after which the murals are painted by the project participants.
The project has as objective the setting up of knowledge and skills exchange between the DBSA, various HE institutions, secondary schools, cultural organisations and city councils. The project is further aimed at community upliftment, cultural exchange and beautification of the urban environment, but also at future job creation. Communities benefit from the project in the following specific ways:
· Nominated community members are trained in art and design skills;
· The CBD area of the region are uplifted and beautified through the decoration of the selected walls;
· The murals act as large scale outdoors artworks, thus become valuable cultural assets of the municipality;
· There is cultural exchange through the meeting and working together of different cultural groups;
· The murals add to the spirit of communality in the regions;
· Images of the murals could be used in marketing material of the community and the parties involved in the project;
· The murals could be used for marketing purposes for the FIFA 2010 soccer activities in Attridgeville; and
· The murals attract tourists and scholars, both local and international and as such add value in terms of internationalisation.
PROSPERITY MURAL, ATTRIDGEVILLE
PROSPERITY MURAL. DURBAN
During the time of the Fifa world cup frenzy in June 2010, the city of Durban acquired a beautiful new mural painting on the wall of the municipal library buildings in Mathews Meyiwa Street. Entitled “Prosperity” and funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the mural is one of a national series on the theme of “A prosperous and integrated region progressively free of poverty and dependency”. The project manager is Prof. Elfriede Dreyer of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Pretoria. The Durban mural is the second in a series of murals that has been conceptualised to take place in various provinces in the country. The first set of Prosperity murals were completed in Attridgeville in Tshwane last year.
Aimed at teaching and learning through the exchange of knowledge and skills acquisition, creative development, cultural exchange and beautification of the urban environment, the mural painting was preceded by a training course in art principles and design for a selection of community artists in the region. Basic drawing skills were mastered as well as the basic principles of colour relationships and an understanding of the properties of colour, accompanied by training in basic principles of composition and design. Artists were taught the “vocabulary” of design and how certain design principles should constitute the broader structural aspects of the composition.
The artists prepared the design for the mural together with the travelling mural team from Pretoria. A major challenge of the project was the commitment to accommodate different aptitudes, belief systems, cultural preferences and tastes in the choice of imagery, since the community artists that participated came from very different educational and cultural backgrounds. Yet human commonality in terms of a need and desire for prosperity won the day and various ideas related to a flourishing society are depicted in the mural, such as reference to the ideals of progress and advancement generated by computer technology development; the virtues of a healthy lifestyle and education; Durban’s tourist trade derived from a wealth of marine aspects; and the merits of labour and having a job.
Good quality paints have been used in order to ensure the longevity of the mural and augment its lifetime. Whilst executing the mural, the mural team was inundated by positive responses from an appreciating public that only seem to be wanting more of the same elsewhere in the city. According to Dreyer, the positive added value in terms of education, tourism, marketing and upliftment of the cultural spirit gained from the project renders it highly relevant and sustainable.
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