GroundUp |Dumisani Dabadini:
How do African artists who have moved to South Africa make it in the competitive art scene over here? This was a question discussed at a meeting at the African Arts Institute (AFAI) last week.
Foreign artists discuss the challenges of working here. Photo by Dumisani Dabadini.
Leo Kapembe, Namibian comedian and entrepreneur, pointed out the lack of understanding of other Africans by South Africans. “I am from Namibia. We are taught about the history of Africa as a whole and how to interact with each other. South Africans seem not to be educated about other African countries,” said Kapembe.
Sandie Banda, Filmmaker and actor from Zambia, said more help is needed from South African artists. He said that there are many opportunities in South Africa but it is hard for foreign artists to make practical use of these opportunities. “South Africa is the mother of art. We are like the children coming to the mother to be breastfed but it is not hard for us to use the opportunities without collaborating with South African artists. They should open up.”
The AFAI has an artist help desk that assists foreign African artists currently residing in South Africa, as well as local artists, by providing information about living and working in South Africa.
Another problem raised was the struggle for African artists to get visas or work permits for South Africa. Some artists at the meeting said they are not taken seriously when they apply for work permits. This crosses over to seeking resources and funding as even financial institutions are often not willing to lend foreign artists money or invest.
Despite these challenges, artists at the meeting said they found South Africa an attractive venue. The country has cultural diversity encourages blending of artistic ideas and creativity. The attendees also felt that South Africa is more liberal which leads to artists having more freedom to express themselves through their crafts. The availability of more sophisticated facilities also gives South Africa an advantage over other African countries.
Read this and other interesting art-icles via source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201404291348.html
Image source: http://www.groundup.org.za/content/foreign-african-artists-struggle-sa-local-art-scene-still-attractive