Collaborative Creativity   Leave a comment

Collaborative Creativity:

Grey SA and Vula Amehlo Art Development

Showcase Emerging Black Artists

June 2011

In June 2011, a partnership between Grey SA and Vula Amehlo Art Development resulted in the launch of an art exhibition by two young emerging artists in Grey’s South Africa head office in Bryanston. The initial connection between the two organizations was facilitated in April 2011 by Michelle Constant of Business Arts South Africa (BASA).

Grey SA is the local office of a major global advertising company – “a shining star” in the Grey network of 121 offices in 94 countries. Grey SA is known for its emphasis on strong creative and strategic interactions which allow for cross-pollination of ideas and learning. Grey SA is proud of the fact that “people have always been at the core of our business, and we engender an environment that helps grow talent, and helps talent engender growth.” They also pride themselves on pushing boundaries and breaking new ground in the advertising field. Their branding – “creativity is strategy” – is reflected in this new initiative which offers a significant opportunity to young emerging artists to promote their profiles and sell their artwork through curated art exhibitions within Grey’s office space. The exhibition also enhances Grey’s ability to tap into multiple cultures and experiences.

Vula Amehlo Art Development is a newly established company focused on promoting the careers of young black artists through curating exhibitions in both traditional gallery spaces and in other environments, and more broadly marketing their work in South Africa and elsewhere. Vula Amehlo – “open your eyes” – aims to assist these artists in raising their public profiles, selling their artwork, and developing their capacity to manage successful careers as full-time artists. It is committed to build the levels of art appreciation and an understanding of the value of high quality but reasonably priced art as an investment for the future. Vula Amehlo held its first and successful exhibition, “My Art is My Voice”, with about 20 young artists, at Upstairs@ Bamboo in March 2011.

This curated art exhibition project was developed by Sizakele Marutlulle, CEO of Grey SA, and Anne Gordon, Director of Vula Amehlo Art Development. The agreed theme of the first exhibition in one of Grey’s conference rooms is “Joyful Tomorrows”. It comprises artworks by two artists, Bambo Sibiya and Phillip Mabote, whose etchings and linocuts beautifully ex press the concepts of mutual support, togetherness and ubuntu. Bambo’s etchings reflect his experiences of the power of women in his family and community. Through his art, Bambo seeks to show his respect for the role of women in society and their strength in building the future. Phillip’s linocuts reflect on his relationships with members of his family in order to help him understand his own place in his family and community and build his own life. He uses imagery based on playing cards as metaphors for the cards one is dealt in life. Both of them are hoping for joyful tomorrows, and as individuals, have shown resilience and dedication in building their careers as artists.

The arrangement between Grey SA and Vula Amehlo Art Development provides for curated art exhibitions lasting three months at a time. More artists will have an opportunity to show their work over the coming months. Grey SA provides the space for the exhibition, and all of the artwork is available for purchase from Vula Amehlo. Profits from sales will be reinvested by Vula Amehlo in future art exhibitions and capacity- building activities with emerging artists.

This collaboration between curators, artists and advertising professionals aims to create synergistic benefits. It is hoped that the creative artistic ex pression of these artists displayed on the office walls will not only provide an aesthetically pleasing work environment, but also inspire the staff and clients of Grey SA as they pursue their own creative processes. The participating artists will benefit through their interactions with Grey SA by gaining exposure to a different type of visual language and to branding and marketing expertise.

Grey SA and Vula Amehlo are very grateful to BASA for bringing us together. This partnership is an excellent example of how business and arts organizations can jointly create sustainable arts initiatives. We hope that this project will provide an exciting win-win model for future collaborations.

Written by Anne Gordon, Director, Vula Amehlo Art Development.

23 June 2011

Approved by Sizakele Maratlulle, CEO, Grey SA.

1 July 2011


Posted September 23, 2012 by vulaamehlo

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