Assemblage, in collaboration with VANSA and Turbine Art Fair, has coordinated a six month intensive workshop programme funded by Rand Merchant Bank for emerging artists that integrates practical art-making (focusing on process and conceptual development) with professional practice training. The objective of this comprehensive programme is to provide the selected participants with support and guidance to develop their work and, very importantly, with tools to sustain their art career once the programme is completed. The final outcome of the programme is the RMB Talent Unlocked exhibition at the RMB Turbine Art Fair. The exhibition in 2019 is curated by Fulufhelo Mobadi
The Artist Career Development Programme (developed by Assemblage and initiated in 2016) is made up of two components - nine professional practice workshops and six peer mentoring sessions – which take place over a six month period. The professional practice workshops aim to address the gaps of available knowledge in the art industry. Important topics covered include: treating your career as a business, accessing and applying for funding, art law, project management, documenting your artwork, the creative value chain within the arts, writing about your artwork, and marketing yourself and your work. Appropriate industry professionals are carefully selected to facilitate each workshop whilst sharing their knowledge and personal experience.
The second component is the peer mentoring programme, which Assemblage has been running in various forms since 2010. The 15 participating artists are divided into groups mentored by a seasoned South African industry professionals and embark on a journey to develop their process and concepts with the goal of creating a cohesive body of work. Their work is showcased at the Turbine Art Fair, which is a unique opportunity for an emerging artist’s work to be viewed publicly at such a prestigious event. Throughout the peer mentoring sessions, each artist is required to talk about their work, progress and challenges. The mentor - offering valuable insight from their own experience within the industry - encourages dialogue, feedback, and critique. The mentors for the 2019 programme were Lawrence Lemaoana, Turiya Magadlela, Minnette Vari, and Jodi Bieber. The selected 2019 artists are Cow Mash, Noah Maubane, Amogelang Maepa, Charles Mamorobela, Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo, Yolanda Mazwala, Rick Baloyi, Dudubloom More, Moss Morwahla Moeng, Bongani Ndlovu, Zakes Msane, Neo Diseko, Octavia Roodt, Fatima Tayob Moosa and Lwando Dlamini.
The artists learn the value of receiving feedback from like-minded and experienced people, which takes them outside of the often isolating environment within which artists work. From my personal experience of coordinating this programme, I have witnessed incredible growth of the participating artists from the sessions and have seen how they begin to implement the tools provided from the programme into their own practice.
A special word of thanks to our professional practice workshop facilitators;
Louise Van Der Bijl