Red River and Inside Out Project

In April 2012, learners from Red River Primary School participated in the world’s largest public art project, the Inside Out Project.  The students came together at the Bank in the Fringe in Cape Town to talk about what it is like to be a girl and a boy and to take photographs of each other.  One Dog Chicken set up the studio and taught the kids how to use the cameras.  Watch this space as the kids will be pasting the photos up around Cape Town and Manenberrg later this year, taking back the streets!


“Paul du Toit is fun”

“Paul du Toit is fun!” Ferlin, a learner from Red River stated the views of her peers after Paul’s first visit to the school! For the last few weeks, Paul has been collaborating with some of the grade 7 leaners on a variety of painting projects. Paul told the kids who and what inspired him – including Jean Michel Basquit’s story – and told his own inspiring journey to become an artist.

Then the fun began. With paint donated by Plascon, the students learned how to make their own paint brushes  out of sticks and old sponges and to use them to create amazing art. Together, Paul and the kids created trucks, people, and crazy creatures. The smile on Josh\s face when he shared his truck with the group says it all. Art is fun and it feels wonderful to create and collaborate!

A few weeks later, Paul identified some of the most promising artists to collaborate with him on an interactive painting at the Kidults opening at Freeworld Design Centre. The boys worked on one large canvas and the girls tackled the other one. These works will be auctioned off online later this year to raise additional funds for Rock Girl and the Safe Spaces Campaign. Check them out – they are pretty special!

We all have dreams…

We all have dreams. Each day, we can do something that gets us closer to some of them. For the last few weeks, the Grade 7′s at Red River have been thinking about their own dreams – for their school, their community, their families, but most importantly, for themselves. This is their last year at Red River before they head to college – so Rock Girl has been working with them to think about how to make their dreams a reality.

Two years ago, when we began working with this same group of learners, we asked them to share their dreams. Many of them could not express them and quite a few wanted to be “Rihanna” or “Beyonce” or “Shakira”. Admirable but not easy. This time, after many months of working together to transform their school and community, these same young people shared dreams of “becoming a doctor or nurse so I can help sick people”, and “I want to be a lawyer then the president”, and “I want to be a better person”.

The learners wrote down some of these dreams and put them inside pillows made with fabric donated by the Silk and Cotton Company. They cut, sewed, and glued them together and could take them home to place on their beds. Sadly, a few asked us to keep their pillows as they would not be safe at home.

That’s my dream for now: To ensure that these children and all others are safe at home, at school, and on the streets. I’m going to put it under my pillow tonight.

So…What’s your dream?

Paul du Toit creates Safe Spaces Bench

One of the most inspiring things about Rock Girl is the energy and enthusiasm that the artists and designers devote to create truly extraordinary public benches. Not to mention their time and talent. The creative community is demonstrating that beautiful things can create real change.

Paul du Toit’s bench, the latest in the Rock Girl Safe Space collection, says it all. The bench was designed in the shape of a symbolic “Rock Girl” and has a special place for plants and flowers. After a brief stint at the Design Indaba Expo, the first bench will be installed at St. Andrews Square in April 2012 and the sister bench will go to an NGO in Khayelitsha. See Paul’s video to learn more about how and why he created this bench.


Red River learners spent a few hours with Heath Nash

In late 2011, the Red River learners spent a few hours with Heath Nash, South Africa’s preeminent designer of gorgeous creations made from things from rubbish.  To participate, children had to bring in a brightly colored bottle or container from home.  Heath taught the learners how to cut the bottles into shapes to make chandeliers, light covers, and more.  Then he let the children go wild with the scissors and create their own designs.

With nothing more than a pair of scissors, plastic bottles, and a little imagination, the kids created Christmas ornaments, cars, irons, cups, bracelets, and even miniature stiletto heels.  When the “shoe designer” learned that being a shoe designer is a real career, you could almost see the lightbulbs going on in her head.  The children took their creations to the Freeworld Design Centre Christmas Market and sold them, along with paper mache bowls, to raise additional funds for art room supplies.  In early 2012, Heath will return to create two one-of-a-kind chandeliers with them.  One will have pride of place in the art room and the other will be auctioned off online to raise funds for Rock Girl.  Take a look at some of their work….

Celebration of spring and Women’s Day

Also celebrating Women’s Day, the opening will be in aid of the Safe Spaces Campaign, a charity initiative raising awareness about the personal safety of girls and women. Some 45 creatives, including Zapiro, Conrad Botes, Brandt Botes, Skinny laMinx, Charles Maggs, Lauren Beukes and Tracy Lynch have been enlisted to design unique artworks out of yellow soccer balls. These artworks will be auctioned at the launch.

At the event you can also enjoy a skills demo by Grass Roots Soccer, form a human chain across the Fanwalk pedestrian bridge and listen to guest speaker executive major Patricia de Lille. Visit Freeworld’s website for more details.