Joint exhibition by artists, pupils

The Partners Exhibition will see more than 20 pairs of artists and pupils showcase their work, starting this weekend, at the GFI Art Gallery in Park Drive, Central.

The exhibition is a project of non-profit organisation Artworks for Youth, which operates from Joe Slovo Township.

Artist, educator and founder of Artworks for Youth, John Lombardo, said the organisation had worked with pupils from Joe Slovo Primary and other schools, as part of an after-school programme from July until earlier this month, in order to prepare for the Partners Exhibition.

Artworks for Youth, which Lombardo founded more than 15 years ago, provides free after-school visual arts instruction, mentoring and academic support to underprivileged pupils.

“We’re building our own site on a part of Joe Slovo that’s owned by the community and this fundraiser is in part to aid that project.

“While the partners’ project started out as a way to raise funds, the focus has become more important in the way of the relationship between student and artist,” Lombardo said.

Artists who teamed up with the youngsters include the likes of Ayanda Mji, Annette du Plessis and Jonathan Silverman.

Lombardo said Artworks for Youth was “equal part arts education and academic support because the schools are in a really bad shape”.

He said it not only offered a programme for students to explore the arts but was a place to show the children of Joe Slovo “kindness and let them know someone cared for them”.

“There aren’t that many after-school programmes for the children around here.”

With a total of 80 pupils at Artworks for Youth, Lombardo said phase one of the new building would begin in October with a ground breaking ceremony.

Proceeds from an auction of work from the Partners Exhibition would go towards completing phase two and three.

Over two months, the artists and pupils created either individual art pieces or combined their efforts on one project, which would be auctioned off on Wednesday.

The mentorship programme saw the artists challenge the pupils to express themselves through various media.

“We’ve got more than 24 pieces of art . . . We’re having a line auction so the highest bidder gets the piece, but our hope is to take the artwork overseas and have it auctioned there, which would hopefully sell for more,” Lombardo added.

The exhibition opens at 10.30am tomorrow at the GFI Art Gallery and the auction is from 6 to 8pm on Wednesday.

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