by Alice Shih-Kahn
We are fortunate to be the recipients of a generous Parents Association grant that is going to support a special virtual artist-in-residence program. With a partnership with EDU Africa, Studio Art students will engage in dialogue with Njabulo (Jay) Hlophe, a visual storyteller born and raised in Johannesburg. He is a recent graduate of the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography.
Jay was raised in Soweto and the Johannesburg inner city. He was exposed to many scenes that are familiar with the South African black experience: images of pollution, poverty, sickness, and violence as a result of living in a country that still has a very bad shortage of basic facilities. But with that, he was also exposed to the resilience that is characteristic of black people.
On Tuesday, January 11, students virtually met Jay during an in-school field trip that was held via Zoom. Students learned about Jay's artist process, his inspirations, and influences as well as had a dialogue with him about project ideas. In mid-January, students will communicate with the artist via Flipgrid to share their progress and receive suggestions for the next steps. In February, students will prepare and present a presentation of their final artwork to Jay and their Studio Art peers.
Together with our colleague, Ms. Sherri Watkins, Director of Publications and Design, we have planned an exciting journey for Studio Art students to connect with a contemporary artist and most importantly, how to use their art as a voice.