Creating art in Darling

A colourful creation from The Darling Collection 2017.

Now in its third year, the Darling Collection is a festival presenting performances and an exhibition of artworks created to celebrate stories behind the most cherished objects of 35 residents of Darling.

Eight students from Fontys University of Fine and Performing Arts in the Netherlands will again spend six weeks with residents of Darling, to share and interpret their memories behind each object, and bring them to life through works of dance, theatre, music and visual art. The final artworks will be presented in a collaborative celebration at The Darling Collection Festival from Friday April 20 Sunday April 22 in Darling.

The initiative was established to promote understanding across different cultures, honour local heritage and inspire dialogue through the creation of art. With the addition of the dARTling project in 2016, the Darling Collection created a platform to nurture the talents of young Darling artists and performers, in keeping with its overall objective of building a longer relationship with Darling and investing in skills training and education.

Objects from residents that will serve as inspiration for The Darling Collection performance and artworks are again diverse – from a painting of a dog to a baking pan and from a necklace to a cupboard.

Professor Jan Grolleman from Fontys, artistic director of The Darling Collection who has been involved with the project since its inception, says, “Each year, the residents of Darling have been incredibly generous in sharing stories behind their most treasured objects, and have said they experienced great joy in seeing these stories represented through art at the final exhibition.

“The students gain invaluable experience, often having to step away from the traditional approach they have been taught in creating a work of art. They learn to listen, engage and incorporate an emotional and human element to their presentation, to do justice to these personal stories. The creative process is only truly sparked when the student and object owner meet,” says Grolleman.

“Following the response we have had to the dARTling initiative from the past two years, we are especially delighted to expand this programme in 2018. Fontys student Laura Jonkers, who has also been a participant of The Darling Collection since it started, established dARTling in 2016 for primary school learners from 7 to 12 years.

“It is aimed at local artistic talents, or ‘experts’ as we call them, to take part in story-telling, dance, music and art workshops over a period of four weeks, culminating in a presentation for friends and family. From there, interested youth took part in smaller workshops, focused on a more specific discipline and with the objective of creating a performance piece for the three-day festival.

“This year we are proud that dARTling is a 10-week long artistic adventure for a wide range of ages from community members from Darling. Workshops started in February with the first showcase on 14 March.

“The inspiring talents taking part now become teachers as they give workshops to the children of Darling and create a performance piece to be premiered on the closing festival weekend of the Darling Collection, with the uniting theme of #healtheworld. We can’t wait to experience what these talented people have created!” says Grolleman.

Tickets cost R15 for a day pass and R30 for a weekend pass. To book, contact 066 013 5119 or email Tickets will also be available at the door.

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