By GAIL OLIVER
Art is deeply rooted in Makhanda’s culture.
There’s the National Arts Festival, which began in 1974 as a project of the 1820 Settlers Foundation (later renamed the Grahamstown Foundation) and is now one of the top arts events in Southern Africa and the world.
Outside the Festival, art is seen on various walls around town, on High Street, and at monthly thrift markets. Art makes this small town go round. But art means artists. Grocott’s Mail caught up with two of our town’s queer artists.
Farron Adriaan: “Art has always been a part of my life.”
Born and bred in Makhanda, Farron Adriaan is a Master’s student in fine art. Growing up in Makhanda, she was constantly exposed to art. She attended an art school and furthered her studies at Rhodes University. Adriaan says, “I use art to externalise my emotions and thoughts. It is an outlet – a state of catharsis.” Adriaan says she does not wish to commercialise her art. It is for her and the people she hopes to share it with.
Adriaan’s Master’s research focuses on art and the art history of indigenous people. Next year she will be heading off to South America to explore and engage with people who live differently from her and to study their culture.
Lufezo Hempe: “Collaborating and creating feels like an intimate “experience and opens you to new connections.”
Lufezo Hempe is a 21-year-old politics student at Rhodes University. However, she has always found an interest in art since she was young. Her most significant current artistic influence is Sarah Bahbah who inspires Hempe to find her own niche and not be afraid of exploring and searching for new ideas that will guide her through her artistic journey.
Hempe says that coming to Makha “da allowed her to start on a clean slate. “Most people I have encountered in Makhanda are students from different corners of South Africa. This helped me diversify my visual research through experiencing different cultures, street styles and customs.”
Hempe says she has always had a creative outlet in her life because she is not a verbally expressive person. She loves creative writing, photography, and painting.