Taking artists beyond fame

2018-07-24 06:01

Emile Jansen celebrated his 50th birthday in style on Friday with a fundraising event at Kannemeyer Primary School on Friday 20 July.

As reported recently (“50 and still making noise”, People’s Post, 10 July), Jansen and his organisation, Heal the Hood Project, used the opportunity to raise funds to educate and equip up and coming performing artists.

The idea sprung forth out of Jansen’s own experiences during his career in various forms over the years.

“We have spent a lot of time thinking through the examples which exist. Our thing is that we would like it to fit in the bigger agenda of how we see artists surviving. We have these young guys going out of the schools and creating miracles. They are recording, making videos and getting kids to write and putting it out in a book.

“That was all part of increasing self-worth. If we have more creatives – artists and other creative people – working alongside communities we have alternative solutions to problems. We have an opportunity to rethink how housing actually comes about,” says Jansen.

Heal the Hood loosely based the project on the “earthship” concept.

An earthship is essentially a dwelling or space which is capable of operating “off the grid” and is built from both natural and upcycled materials.

“We have been having a lot of research and conversations with people. We, Heal the Hood, are funded by the workers’ union in Sweden. This idea appeals to them. While we are having these events, there are ongoing conversations happening.

“Even though we are funded at the moment, we are looking at becoming self-sustainable. Then we are looking at how this blueprint can be duplicated elsewhere, especially considering how money moves in communities. This is what is not happening in schools.

“Schools are not making young people aware on how money moves, because money moves out of our communities and does not rotate in our communities. I see a space where creatives are interacting with the community as the space where people will rethink how money moves,” explains Jansen­.

Jansen reiterated the balancing act many artists face today, which makes it harder for them to continually challenge conventional processes.

“Irrespective as what was placed as the norm in that space, like there is a hunger for something new, but without there being creatives coming in then there will be no rejuvenation,” he adds.

Essentially, once these creative hubs are duplicated elsewhere, they will form a network for the artists to be able to tap into as a resource.

“A creative hub that is vibrant and alive that also moves beyond the community and is beyond itself. Whoever is there will be able to move to Johannesburg, Kimberly and Bloemfontein,” says Jansen, adding that artists need to remain passionate, rather than only chase fame, while still being able to meet their own essential daily needs.

“It is time that conversation gathers pace. Not about how do you become famous, but how do you pay the bills. How do you make ends meet and what techniques have been used so that other young people can do the same, because there is so much talent which just vanishes and we all suffer because of it.”V Visit Heal the Hood Project’s website at healthehood­.­org.za.

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