Apr 8, 2009


The expanded Shoprite Checkers Strokes of Genius fine art project, which now offers not only painters, but also craft workers the opportunity to gain exposure for their art work on the World Wide Web, was launched during a fine arts and crafts exhibition at Willowbridge Mall, Bellville on 2 April 2009. 

Says Brian Weyers, Shoprite Group’s director of corporate marketing in his address:” We have become aware of the importance of doing what we can to help many creative people in our country to become financially independent and so the idea of Strokes of Genius was born. Our aim is to provide a platform for emerging artists where their work can be seen and purchased by people from all over the world.” 

Accordingly the Shoprite Checkers Strokes of Genius project - a project for the development of fine arts and crafts from Africa, presented in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Trade and Industry, provides artists and craft workers with the opportunity to gain recognition for their talent by exposing their work to local and international buyers through the visual online gallery,

Commenting on their partnership, the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Ntombazana Botha, said that the current financial pressures coupled with an unemployment rate of 21,9% in South Africa, necessitates more partnerships between the public and private sector that focuses on sustainable economic development. 

She remarked that Shoprite Checkers, in partnership with government departments, has through the years responded positively to this challenge through their support of various developmental initiatives. Ms Botha went on to say that through the Strokes of Genius project Shoprite Checkers will add to their support of economic empowerment by taking cultural products from rural areas to the world market, thus further instilling a culture of entrepreneurship in the supported entities. 

Deputy Minister Botha also announced the theme of the 2009 Strokes of Genius Arts-in-Schools competition: Shoprite Checkers – Building communities through the Arts. This second component of the Strokes for Genius project involves the development of art and culture amongst South Africa’s young people. Our country has a wealth of artistic talent and the Strokes of Genius project recognizes the need to harness this talent from an early age in order to produce more world class artists from our country. In light of the aforementioned, the Shoprite Checkers Strokes of Genius project will launch the Arts-in-Schools competition for secondary schools in May 2009. Secondary school learners throughout South Africa will be invited to portray the competition theme through paintings. The best paintings from all provinces will be displayed at a final Strokes of Genius exhibition planned for August this year, where three overall winners will be announced. Winners of the competition will receive a contribution towards furthering their art studies, as well as a contribution towards the development of their schools’ art programmes.

Strokes of Genius was conceived in 2007 to realize the potential inherent to the untapped arts and culture economic sector. The project first launched with a focus on the promotion of emerging painters. The best artworks from emerging artists who submitted their paintings online were sold off in an auction. Fifteen young artists successfully sold their works, with two artworks fetching R30 000 each - the highest closing bid for emerging artists. These were Rainbow Nation, an acrylic portrait by 35-year-old Bloemfontein artists Victor Geduldt; and Angel, an oil portrait by 23-year-old Hermanus artist Wayne Wyngaard. Through the recognition gained from their involvement with Strokes of Genius these two artists have gone on to become successful public artists in their own right, exhibiting their works, on invitation, in well-known South African galleries and art events. 

The newly expanded project will continue to support painters through the Strokes of Genius online art gallery – which currently houses more that 50 paintings, but will now also see crafters promoting their enterprises and fine craft products in their own online Craft Shop on the Strokes of Genius web site. The web site already features craft shops showing wares from communities such as Nyanga, Heidelberg, Tulbagh, Franschhoek and the surrounding communities of Durban and Johannesburg. Craft products include smoke-fired pottery, leather products, ceramics, decorative lampshades, beadwork, mosaics, interior decor Items, chandeliers, wire and wood sculptures and other traditional African craft ware. 

Art lovers, art collectors, painters and crafters are invited to either submit and/or buy quality fine African arts in support of Strokes of Genius.

(from left to right) Ms Ntombazana Botha (Deputy Minister for the Department of Arts and Culture); Mr Brian Weyers (Marketing Director, Shoprite Group); Nadia Sugee (Department of Trade and Industry)
(from left to right) Anneline Baadjies and Sophia Joemat, from the Busy Bee Craft Centre in Tulbagh show their creations.
(from left to right) Ms Nosicelo Sinari and Mr Sibongile Memani, from The Community Mosaic and Ceramic Art Project in Nyanga, with a few of the quality glass and stone mosaic products they created.
Mr. Andre Jacobs and Ms. Amelia Sittar from African Twist.

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