Platfontein Print Project

Prints Mini Catalogue

Platfontein is the residence of the !Xun and Khwe people, first-nation inhabitants from Southern Africa. Free State Arts and Health (FSAH) initiated a print project for the youth, in partnership with the William Humphreys Arts Gallery and the Isibindi Youth Centre. During the project, young artists engaged in dialogue with their elders who shared some of the stories that have been passed down for generations in the oratory tradition of the !Xun and Khwe. The project allowed young artists to act as agents between the generations of their community in a manner that reaffirmed their rich cultural heritage. The artworks became the product of a community art cultural development process that contributed to the resumption of community pride and cultural agency among the participating artists. For the youth from here, traditional folklore contends for assimilation with surrounding master narratives that are alien to them. For many of the project participants, it was the first time that they heard the stories that these artworks share with us. Now, this print portfolio visually encapsulates traditional stories from the !Xun and Khwe first-nation peoples.

The prints were made by young artists from Platfontein as part of a generational cohesion project that facilitated the transfer of cultural narratives from the older generation to the younger. In the last quarter of 2019, the Platfontein Print Project produced a whole new body of work with the support of our partners on the ground and with additional help from the National Heritage Council. In 2020, due to the constraints caused by the pandemic, our interactive community art exhibition was cancelled, and a virtual art gallery was created which became part of the world-renowned Ars Electronica Festival. The work titled Ons Kom Vanaf Ons Stories is a three-dimensional virtual space in Mozilla Hub. It was the product of !Xun and Khwe first- nations people’s community art cultural development process that contributed to the resumption of community pride and cultural agency among the participating artists. For many of the project participants, it was the first time that they heard the stories that these artworks share with us. In 2021, FSAH will be publishing a mini catalogue of all the prints and several stories encapsulated in the prints.