WE ARE ONE
THE FABRIC OF THAT IS HUMAN
OUR CREATIVE ENERGY MOVES
WITH THE FORCE OF THE
WE ARE ALL INVOLVED
WE ARE THE CELEBRANTS HERE
WE ARE ONE - WE ARE TOGETHER
SISONKE - REMMOGO
William Kgositsile, 2006
Keorapetse William Kgositsile, legendary South African poet and activist, writes the lyrics for the SISONKE title song!
SISONKE means 'togetherness' in Zulu language. SISONKE stands for creative exchange, synergy and dialogue between South
Africa and Europe, the promotion of social equity and artistic freedom. SISONKE initiates an exchange based on reciprocity and sustainability, detecting creative
potential and assembling energies.
SISONKE is based on mutual respect, appreciation and the openness to learn from 'the other'.
At the heart of this project is Imfundiso, a training initiative in South Africa that focuses on the cultivation of young talent from historically
disadvantaged communities in high quality jewellery design. Founded in 2001 by Isaac Nkwe, Imfundiso was honoured by Nelson Mandela for its action to alleviate
poverty and celebrated at the 2006 Oscar Gala where 'Tsotsi' actress Terry Pheto received her Oscar wearing a gold necklace designed and produced at the Imfundiso
Soweto Jewellery School. Imfundiso runs currently eight jewellery design schools in the country.
Mutual generation of cross
continental exchange in reciprocal inspiration, fostering intercultural communication and collaborative art practice.
- Poverty alleviation by upgrading
creative capacities and skills focusing on historically disadvantaged youth
- Promotion of a better understanding between South Africa and Europe as an
initiative against stereotypes and prefabricated notions of cultural identity
- Detection and publicising creative potential
- Fostering of
international exposure and mobility
- Building active intercultural networks between South Africa and Europe
“Poverty is the
greatest assault on human dignity,
where you wake up, and do not know, you are going to
get the next meal, and live in shanty towns, unable to
send your children to the best schools. It is the greatest
assault on dignity, and unemployment worsens it.”
The 21st Century is marked by rapid changes of perspectives and the evolvement of new centres on a global level. The opening to the
“other” has been declared as a principle of action. International attention is more and more directed to art production of the new centres such as
South Africa. However, international representation processes of contemporary art production remain closed circuits branded by inequality of access relating to
geographical provenance. Cross continental exchanges are more often then not still biased by stereotypes and prefabricated notions of cultural identity.
It is time to start communication based on something as simple as dialogue. It is time not to seek for lack or deficiencies in the other, but to detect and tap
creative potential and to assemble energies. There are no global issues which stand alone.
The project SISONKE stands for a sustainable process,
uniting social, sociopolitical and artistic contents.
Initiators and partners
SISONKE was developed by Imfundiso South Africa and KulturAXE
Vienna, Austria, and will be realized together with the New Design University, St.Pölten, the South African Embassy in Vienna and institutional partners in
South Africa, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.
KulturAXE Vienna, a culture association founded 1995, disposes over long standing experience in
the direction of transnational art projects and intercultural exchange processes. Its projects encompass International Art Symposia in Central Eastern Europe,
transnational exhibition projects, art summers, seminars and activities in public space. Since 1998 there has been a continuous exchange with artists and
initiatives from South Africa.
Imfundiso (ISD) was founded 2001 in South Africa to transfer jewellery design and manufacturing skills to
historically disadvantaged and unemployed youth. The aim is to foster creative potential of the youth, to assist them in generating income and employment
opportunities and to create access to training for non-matriculants. As a contribution towards the eradication of poverty in historically disadvantaged
communities, including rural areas.
New Design University (NDU), St.Pölten, Austria, was founded 2004 as an English- and
German-speaking private University of the Creative Industry and offers Bachelor-, Master-, and further study programmes. The week-long New Design Festival is
organized by the NDU at the Museumsquartier Vienna and takes place in March 2007 for the second time. Info: www.ndu.ac.at
Cross continental chronology
December 2005: Imfundiso South Africa and KulturAXE Vienna start with a cooperation process and the
concept of a cross continental cultural project.
March 2006: The South African Embassy in Vienna becomes a cooperation partner of the newly developed
project 'Cross Continental Design Catwalk' (CCDC). With Machfeld Vienna, a cross continental web portal is outlined, the Cross Continental Action Platform
April 2006: The New Design University St. Pölten becomes a partner of the CCDC and offers the prominent location at the Museumsquartier
Vienna within the frame of the New Design Festival in March 2007.
May 2006: KulturAXE and Imfundiso present the project in South Africa. The name
SISONKE is born. South African institutional partners and artists are invited to join.
June 2006: SISONKE is presented at the Art Academy in
July 2006: At the 16th Art Symposium of KulturAXE in Hungary, the first mutual jewellery design workshop is realized with
Imfundiso in cooperation with the New Design University St. Pölten and the Art Academy Bratislava. The South African Ambassadress in Hungary visits the
workshop and proposes a CCDC presentation in Budapest.
October 2006: The CCDC is presented to the Director of the City of Johannesburg, Department of
Arts, Culture and Heritage who proposes a presentation in November 2007 at the Annual Festival of Creative Industry Talents.
November - December
2006: Renowned artists and top designers from Austria confirm their participation at the CCDC. The CCAP web portal goes online: www.cca-p.net