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BAT ARTISTS IN ACTION (article first published : 2004-02-22)

Applications are still opened for the Artists In Action Residency Programme for music and visual arts 2004 at the Bat Centre.

Many KwaZulu-Natal artists are more likely to trek to Johannesburg for greener pastures. One of the reasons is a lack of infrastructure and transference of both visual arts and music skills from experienced musos and artists.

In an effort to halt this migration, Director of the BAT Centre, Nise Malange has injected her energy into the initiation of the Artists in Action Residency Programme.

This visual arts and music programme takes in existing artists who are given an opportunity to enhance their skills and experience their chosen genres on the field. According to the Artists in Action Residency Programme Manager, Kevin Gordon, (internationally renowned keyboardist and jazz muso), the programme started because "there was a need especially for self-taught musicians to acquire skills which will enable them to survive in the industry.

KZN music fundis facilitating this venture are lawyer Johnny Dimba who teaches music administration; bass maestro Sipho Gumede who shares his music business and marketing skills; Dave Marx of 3rd Ear Music, Vince Mthethwa, and George Mari.

The programme has enriched many aspiring musicians, such as Xolile Sandile Sibiya (aka San of the Ghetto Prophecy Movement) who maintains that his band is now much in demand. He acknowledged that he has learnt how to play a guitar, read and write music but, more importantly, learnt to market and promote himself as an artist and as a member of a band.

Other people who have benefited are those using different mediums in visual arts. Those invited to transfer their skills in drawing include Nontobeko Ntombela, the BAT Centre's curator, and Noluyolo Vakalisa who shared her printmaking skills. Among the up-and-coming artists benefitting from this exercise are Lungelo Gumede.

Sponsored by the National Lottery Development Distribution Trust Fund, Artists in Action runs for six months. Kevin Gordon stated that the programme aims to undertake outreach programmes in venures such as Places of Safety and Rehabilitation Centres for juvenile offenders as part of the moral regeneration.

The BAT Centre invites all active musicians and visual artists who wish to further their artistic skills to collect applications from the BAT Centre's administration block or contact Kevin Gordon or visual arts co-ordinator Njabulo Hlongwane on 031 332 0451.

Applications close on February 27 and no late applications will be considered.




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