ASAI Print Workshop at Michaelis

23 Jan 2023
23 Jan 2023

The project is in collaboration with the Katrine Harries Print Cabinet (CCA). The workshop was facilitated by Chelsea Ingham (artist and independent printmaking facilitator) and Madelize van der Merwe (Senior Print Technician at Michaelis). Two previous editions at Michaelis focused on lithography.  Initiated by ASAI, these workshops are for practicing artists who have had little or no previous experience with particular print techniques. Similar workshops are due to run this and next month in Durban and Johannesburg, thanks to ASAI securing Presidential Employment Stimulus Package funding from the National Arts Council and Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

Many of the artists who have participated in the UCT workshops have historic links to the Community Arts Project (1976-2008), where hundreds of black artists received art education when this was largely reserved for whites.  A significant number of former Michaelis students and staff were involved with CAP, whose archive is stored at UCT and UWC. They include Mario Pissarra, UCT alumni and founder of ASAI.  This year’s participants include Sophie Peters, who came from Kliptown to study art full-time at CAP in the 1980s, later teaching art to children for many years. Peters, who is best known for linocuts and painting, had 24 works on the recent When Rain Clouds Gather exhibition (curated by Portia Malatjie and Nontobeko Ntombela at the Norval Foundation). Her previous silkscreen experience was through a residency at Caversham Press in KZN. Fellow workshop participant Xolile Mtakatya also had a residency at Caversham. He was a part-time student at CAP in the 1980s, as was Tony Mhayi,  who later studied at Michaelis and taught art for Lalela Project for many years. Mhayi and Mtakatya are painters and are both working towards solo exhibitions. Donovan Ward also studied part-time at CAP, although his main training was at the Ruth Prowse School of Art. Ward works in a wide range of media and is perhaps best known for several major public art projects, including the Gugulethu Seven memorial and Delville Wood War Memorial in France. Patricia de Villiers is an illustrator who was one of the founders of the print workshop at CAP, where she was directly and indirectly responsible for countless political posters and t-shirts. Manfred Zylla, widely recognized as one of the country’s most important resistance artists, is a self-taught artist. He taught printmaking at CAP and worked as a print technician at Michaelis in the 1980s. While de Villiers and Zylla have extensive screen-printing experience, neither have previously used the medium to produce their own artworks. Also in the workshop, Zemba Luzamba is a Congolese painter who has been living in Cape Town since 2005. He is currently enjoying increasing visibility internationally and has a new show coming up at Ebony Curated. Ayesha Price, who is currently completing her MFA at Michaelis, has a history of working as an art educator and producing community -based art.

ASAI is currently fundraising for further workshops based on the UCT model, with eight universities in four provinces keen to collaborate. It is hoped that the workshops can be developed as sustainable initiative, strengthening the social responsibility programme of universities by supporting artists who have historically had limited institutional support, enabling these artists to broaden their skills base and to produce new work.

Text: Mario Pissarra
Main Image: Sophie Peters, Trish De Villiers, Xolile Mtakatya (left to right)

Gallery Images
Image 1: Patricia de Villiers & Chelsea Ingham

Image 2: Tony Mhayi & Madelize van der Merwe

Image 3: Sophie Peters

Image 4: Zemba Luzamba, Chelsea Ingham & Donovan Ward

Image 5: Tony Mhayi & Manfred Zylla