In 2012 André facilitated Journey with an Artist.
Nearly 200 refugee children between the ages of 5 and 13 participated. For four days, from 13-16 August 2012, children worked on individual and group art works together with a group of practising artists.
The programme was sponsored by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Business Art South Africa (BASA).
André was ably assisted by fellow facilitator, Anne-Marie Moore, colleague and parent at Sacred Heart, Bea Roberts, and Tebogo Maleka. André's MindBurst colleague, Rob Mills, photographed all the works for future use in digital media, exhibitions and books.
The success of the whole programme would not have been possible without the help of students from Sacred Heart High School who volunteered their community service hours.
The idea behind Journey with and Artist was for children to do more than the usual quick drawing or painting they do in class. Instead we wanted them to experience the process of conceptualising and refining an art work, getting feedback from someone with expertise and applying that to their process of making – even if it meant they had to start over.
We wanted them to dig deep and explore their capacity for refining their self expression.
The finished works represent a learning journey they made in conversation with the artists. These works will eventually be sold and auctioned to raise money for their school.
The artists who accompanied the children on their journey were:
Facilitating Grade Rs – Grade 3s
Anne-Marie Moore (ably assisted by her friends, Joy Rubin, Ghita Brode, Jeannette Holshausen and Gill Patterson onvarious days) – anumber of activities including painting dinner plates and creating bookmarks and masks
Shari Banhegyi – a number of activities including beading and drawing
Facilitating Grade 4s – Grade 6s– divided into small groups, each with its own practicing artist, and in which individuals focused on one primary art work over the four mornings
Gill McDowell – painting triptychs
Usha Seejarim – layering of images by creating stencils and spray painting
John Moore – charcoal, ink and chalk
Ticha Chiwota – pastels
Jamie Gowrie – collage and painting
Robyn Knowles – a decorated glass window for Sacred Heart College
The Three2Six School is hosted by Sacred Heart College and Observatory Girls Primary. It is an afternoon bridging school for refugee children who have not been able to access state education. The children came to South Africa from Rwanda, Republic of Congo, DRC, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, etc. Even with asylum seeker permits refugee children are often refused access to state schools due to xenophobia, insufficient resources at the school, the child’s inability to pay fees and language difficulties.
The children, who now live in the neighbouring communities of Yeoville and Berea, attend classes from 3pm, when the regular school is out. They use the Sacred Heart College and Observatory Girls classrooms for an intensive three-hour teaching session, returning home at 6pm. The children receive food as well as uniforms and transport to and from school. Immunisation is also provided for the children and their siblings in conjunction with the Jesuit Refugee Services. Qualified and experienced teachers are sourced from the refugee/immigrant community and supported Sacred Heart College staff. The programme is managed by the refugee teachers and some volunteers from donor organisations, with support and fundraising from Sacred Heart College.
During school holidays the Three2Six children get to attend school in the mornings and catch up on many of the extramural activities they have missed out on. Art is a vital part of this holiday programme. This is where André and his team have got involved. Students from Sacred Heart High School who offer community service hours to the Three2Six School during the holiday programme.
André, together with his colleagues Rob Mills and Gábor Rácz from MindBurst, has supported the Three2Six School for refugees for the last three years by facilitating holiday programmes that aim to:
- introduce children to different artistic media and techniques;
- facilitate creative thinking skills;
- create opportunities for exploring self expression in a safe, affirming environment;
- increase self esteem.