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STATUE DELIVERED TO NY (article first published : 2002-07-19)

In an official ceremony today (July 18) in New York, the former US Consul General Durban, Craig Kuehl, and his wife Jane Lucas handed over a beadcloth sculpture to the New York Public School District 75.

Created by the students of the Ningizimu School for the Severely Mentally Handicapped in Montclair, the piece stands close to the average person’s height and is constructed of mixed media, canvas, paper, glue, glass, and found objects.

The students decided to create the work to show their solidarity with the citizens of New York after the horrific attack on New York on September 11. After looking for a suitable home for the statue, it was decided to present it as a gift to students of District 75 and New York City. It was fitting that Craig Kuehl, who completed his four-year term of office in Durban in June, and Jane Lucas were able to present the sculpture. Their support of Ningizimu and all other facets of the Durban arts and cultural world has been immeasurable.

“The piece has arrived to rave reviews from all who have seen it,” writes Jane Lucas from New York. “It resonates with aesthetics of contemporary art, along the stylistic lines of Judy Onofrio and pays homage to local indigenous artistic traditions of South Africa. This creative sculpture demonstrates the power of art as a vehicle for self and group expression. As a beautiful creation from South African students with cognitive disabilities, it helps to remind us that generosity and creativity are universal, human gifts."

Political dignitaries, representatives from the SA Mission to the United Nations, persons working in special education, artists, and gallery owners were invited to the ceremony.




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