2012 February

With funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, supported by Greatmore Studios and hosted by the Bag Factory Artist Studios, Thupelo was able to hold a very successful workshop for 21 artists from 13 countries.

The purpose of the workshop was to provide a supportive environment for visual artists from a diversity of backgrounds to work alongside each other, exchanging ideas, experiences, techniques and disciplines that make for greater levels of experimentation and new forms of professional creative expression.

“Cut-off from ones daily routine, away from family and work, one remains concentrated on his practice while interacting with other artists, this brings about lots of creative energy and pushes you to produce things that you would never have produced in isolation in your studio” – Krishna Luchoomun, Artist

Thupelo worked closely with the Bag Factory Artists Studios, which served as the workshop space for the 2 week period. The Bag Factory also provided Thupelo with an exhibition space for the open day exhibition. Artists were provided with all the facilities normally available to Bag Factory artists including access to the computer resource centre and extensive network as well as whatever tools where available.

The artists arrived by car, bus and plane and were met by the coordinator Kate. The majority of the participants were accommodated and upon arrival, were taken to the nearby hotel.
A welcome reception was hosted at the Bag Factory where artists from the studios could meet the Thupelo artists. The following day a lunch was held where some of the founders of the Thupelo workshop were invited to talk about the history of Thupelo and set the pace for the workshop.
The workshop encouraged artists to experiment and embrace new perspectives to art making. This information was relayed and to make it possible, artist were provided with materials, a communal space to create as well as smaller more intimate studio space.

Each day began with a communal breakfast giving the group an opportunity to reflect on the day ahead. They would meet again at lunch time when food would again be provided. These times allowed for dialogue and debate and fuelled not only physical energy but inquisitive minds too.
The group work intensively every day and often into the night for the 2 week period.
The project not only impacted the 21 local and international artists but also over 120 spectators who attended the exhibition. The artists at the Bag Factory also had opportunities to work alongside the Thupelo artists. Over 8000 people were made aware of the workshop through online publicity.

The full impact that this workshop will have on the lives of the participating artists, will take time to surface. Most of the artists said from the beginning that they wanted to create something new and be exposed to different techniques and processes. All the artists reported that they emerged from the experience with a heightened sense of themselves as artists and new ideas and technical knowledge.

The Thupelo 2012 Workshop was a success and has met its objectives and aims by encouraging the artists to try out new ideas. By providing a supportive environment and bringing visual artists from a diversity of backgrounds to work alongside each other, Thupelo has allowed for an exchange of ideas, experiences, techniques and disciplines. It is believed that all of these motives contribute to the development of art by inviting new forms of professional creative expression. The end result was confirmation that this can be achieved. The evidence being an exhibition of quality works, attracting many spectators and resulting in satisfied participants who had an opportunity to make new and long lasting connections.
Video documentation initiated and edited by Fiona Flynn.
Footage collected by various artists on Thupelo.