By Monique Lewis
A thirty-seven year old, Samkela Stamper a local artist who turned her grandmother’s house into an art gallery and a kids developmental area celebrates the success of their recent event that took place at Dabhani village, in Ngqushwa.
Stampter is a self-taught artist who lived in Mpumalanga for ten years until 2006. Stamper said, “I never had the opportunity to go to art school so for me going back to school at the age of 32 was my chance to embrace my born given talent”.
During the Easter weekend Samkela and her team invited Nox and Sisonke from Grahamstown Rhodes University to share some songs and imidlalo with the children of the village. The event turned out to be a huge success as the many local artists and organizations came together to make the event a success.
Stamper said, “The vision behind the art gallery has always been that I want it to be an art bank, we’ve only had an art bank in South Africa around 2017 in Bloemfontein”.
She wants to position the art gallery as a space to introduce a decolonised art education in eNgqushwa. Her main concern is that the children of many villages around eNgqushwa don’t have any representation of the fine arts. She is currently heading a programme called ba gotywa base batsha, meaning you work with them while they still young.
Her main vision behind this programme is to groom the children’s talents and not wait until they are old like she experienced. Stamper works with schools, children in the village, the unemployed youth, older woman, teachers and the community. Her end goal of her programme is to open an arts school in the village for many children to embrace and groom their talents in the fine art field. She works with various artists such as Solomozi Mjayezi from arts side and their curator who is an award winning artist. He curates the gallery and teacher’s chess to the children.
Their events act as signifiers to reach out to people on the last Thursday of every month. They hold many fundraisers as they are not a funded entity. Fundraisers include: market Thursdays and Saturdays which take place at the end of every month. The fundraisers are a build up to an arts festival which is to take place later this year in September.