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  • Writer's pictureThuthukani "TK" Ndlovu

Free State Digital Creative Fest

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

// On the 9th of April 2020, we launched a virtual exhibition featuring Augmented Reality artworks by 18 African artists //

COVID Planet by Tshepang Jiane, 2020

Wattup fam. I hope you have all been well (and practicing self distancing plus washing your hands regularly) during these interesting times. It has definitely been quite a rough month, but we will keep on pushing. As most of you may have been aware, we were supposed to have the Free State Digital Creative Fest at the end of March. Well, the good news is that we were still able to have the festival, and we just took everything online (the hackathon and the exhibition). It was quite challenging and stressful, but we did it, AND IT WAS WORTH IT!

[ Frailty by Tshepang & Thuthukani ; Isolation BY Teboho M ; Ignorance by Lerato T ]

Honestly speaking, we were quite fortunate to have the ability to take the fest online. INFINI3 partnered with us to host the online hackathon (which I facilitated), and the exhibition which you must definitely check out ASAP. A big shout out goes to the National Arts Council of South Africa because they funded the project. This project was definitely one of our most unique projects, because it was the first time curating an online exhibition, with the inclusion of Augmented Reality (thanks to Kunstmatrix and Ativive). We challenged the artists to create work in response to the Corona Virus pandemic, and they created a number of amazing artworks that you need to see (and listen to, because behind most of the artworks is a poem that either inspired the artwork or was a response to the artwork). As stated in one of our previous articles, this project was similar to Giving Poetry Wings, but just on a bigger scale and with visual/fine artists.

[ Social Solidarity by Lehlohonolo P; Shackles of COVID19 by Tristan N; Breathe by Urzil ]

The Free State based artists who were selected for the program were: Lerato Thulo, Tshepang Jiane Tristan Nel (Garth), Teboho Mokhothu, Liz Vorster (Urzil), Aarifa Gora, Isaac Mohale Fiona Wanjiku Maina, Lesego Motsiri, Lehlohonolo Peter, Louis Krüger, Katleho Khaola, Tseko Thukani, Dia Mafoyane (Dex the rapper), Patience Ntaoleng Labane Raymond Letsitsa, Mpho Thulo and Khisi Nhlapo. It was a pleasure working with these talented artists, and I'm glad that we managed to not only achieve most of the objectives of the festival, but also create work that speaks to the global problem that we find ourselves in. The exhibition will be available online until the end of year, so please do make sure you check it out. We would also like to hear your feedback, so don't forget to leave a comment. We've only shared a few of the artworks in this article, so make sure you check out the virtual/ online exhibition to view the rest:

By the way way, don't' forget to download and install the Ativive app (on Google Play store/ iTunes store) on your phone before visiting the exhibition site so that you can to enjoy the full experience of all the artworks. The video above will give you a glimpse of site and and the artists. With all that being said, we are glad to inform you that we have the 3rd edition of Giving Poetry Wings in the pipeline, so look out for the call for applications. The National Ats Festival is going online, so we will also be having the GPW program online, which allows us to also include a few international artists. We'll definitely keep you informed though our site and social media pages. That's about it for today. Don't forget to regularly wash your hands, wear a mask in public, and practice self distancing. You can catch me on Twitter / Instagram @2tukani. Don't forget to let me know which artwork is your favorite from the online exhibition. #StaySafe fam.


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