Culture is at the beginning and the end of development
(Léopold Sédar Senghor)
Published on 15 October 2011
Six South African art collectives invited to research and explore the challenges and successes inherent in female empowerment, using visual arts and storytelling
We are pleased to announce Freedom to Create presents AWARE/OWARE, a project of Art Works for Change, who created and produced a life-size game, based on the classic African game Oware.
Oware is considered the oldest board game in the world, dating back 7,000 years. The participatory game will be available for play from November 16-25, at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world, in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of the Freedom to Create Prize celebrations.
Art Works for Change invited six South African art collectives to research and explore the challenges and successes inherent in female empowerment, using visual arts and storytelling. Their imagery was organized into six aspects of female empowerment: education, basic human rights and safety, economic, political, health, and environmental.
Art Works for Change's version of Oware serves as an interactive forum for the community to explore the issue of female empowerment. The goal and game of Oware has been adapted so that each person or team collects knowledge, resources, and capabilities on their journey to empowerment in the game play.
Randy Jayne Rosenberg, Executive Director and Chief Curator for Art Works for Change states, "The missions of Art Works for Change and Freedom to Create are closely aligned: to harness the power of creativity and the arts to challenge and change the world and to foster peace and prosperity. Like Freedom to Create, our ultimate goal is to make a profound contribution to deep social change and to reach a critical mass where all people enjoy the rights and privileges of a civil society. We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Freedom to Create in South Africa."
Rosenberg explains that games like Oware are valuable lessons for social change. "In games, qualities come forth that can exemplify our best selves as we become motivated, optimistic, focused, collaborative, and heroic, even in the face of failure, thereby cultivating resilience. Researchers and game designers are finding that these qualities can affect how we live in the real world."
Rosenberg notes that AWARE/OWARE stands alone as a strong sculptural and aesthetic public artwork, approximately 24 x 8 feet (7.3 x 2.4 meters) in size.
The participating artist collectives contributing to AWARE/OWARE include Woza Moya-Hillcrest Aids Trust; Ardmore Ceramics; Keiskamma Arts Trust; Hlabisa Basket Weavers; Greatmore Studios; and Artist Proof Studio; along with our in-country project coordinator, Carol Brown.
The game is open to all visitors of the Kirstenbosch Garden. NGO's will have free access to Kirstenbosch Gardens if they pre-arrange their visit and book a time-slot to play AWARE/OWARE. Contact Alison Pekeur at Kirstenbosch on + 27 (0) 21 799 8686 or email to a.pekeur ( @ ) sanbi dot org dot za dot
For additional information on AWARE/OWARE, please contact:
Press ( @ ) artworksforchange dot org +510-451-6610, or Sarah Struys at S dot Struys ( ( @ ) ) sanbi dot org dot za dot
ABOUT ART WORKS FOR CHANGE
Art Works for Change (AWFC) is a nonprofit organization that produces traveling contemporary art exhibitions addressing pressing issues such as social justice, human rights, gender equity and environmental sustainability and stewardship. Through its partnerships with museums, advocacy and educational organizations, AWFC utilizes the transformative power of art to foster social change by promoting awareness and provoking dialogue and action in communities.
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