Michigan State University masthead

Siyazama: Traditional Arts, Education, and AIDS in South Africa

February 5, 2006 - January 7, 2007
Heritage Gallery

Image of "Young Bride"Throughout the world art has long been used as a tool for cultural, social, and economic change. In South Africa many educators and activists used performing and visual arts in the successful anti-apartheid movement. Now arts are being used there to inform and inspire citizens about the AIDS epidemic.

Fighting AIDS within South Africa presents many challenges. Even though the post-apartheid government has mandated changes, many communities continue to experience high rates of poverty and racial discrimination. Perhaps more importantly, strongly maintained traditional practices and beliefs, especially related to gender roles, inhibit conventional approaches to AIDS education. Despite these challenges, many community organizations have turned to the arts for innovative AIDS education and outreach projects.

One arts-based intervention, the Siyazama (Zulu for "we are trying") Project, uses traditional and contemporary artistic expression to document the realities of HIV/AIDS and to open lines of communication about the virus. Though based in South Africa, the project is a replicable model for collaborations among artists, educators, and health practitioners.

This exhibition showcases a sampling of the artistic work created by participants in the Siyazama Project and explores the application of traditional knowledge and skills to contemporary issues, materials, and experiences. The exhibition is a collaborative project with Natal Technikon (formerly Durban Technikon) that grew out of the South African National Cultural Heritage Project, a bi-national project led, in part, by Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online.

Funding has been provided by the Andrew J. Mellon Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, and, for partial support of the traveling portion of the exhibition, Michigan Council for the Arts (Anchor Program).

SIYAZAMA RELATED ACTIVITIES

Thursday, February 9
Time: 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Event: LATTICE Educators' Workshop with special presentation by Dr. Marsha MacDowell
Location: Main Gallery, Heritage Gallery
Primary MSUM Contact for Program Development: Dr. Marsha MacDowell
Primary Event Coordinator: Margaret Holtschlag, Director, LATTICE; Dr. John Metzler, African Studies
Day of Event Contact: Margaret Holtschlag
Audience: Open only to members of LATTICE (Linking All Kinds of Teachers with International Cross-Cultural Education).

Sunday, February 26
Time: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Event: "Making it Good, Doing it Right" Learning Fair
This event will offer hands-on activities for all ages that relate to understanding and promoting sustainability of our backyards, our community and our world. Timely, provocative, important.
The program is the product of the creative energies of the students in the MSU Museum Studies program.
Location: Throughout the MSU Museum
Primary MSUM Contact for Program Development: Dr. Kris Morrissey
Primary Event Coordinator: Dr. Kris Morrissey and Erik Larson
Day of Event Contact: Kris Morrissey

Monday, February 27
Time: 11:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Event: "Making it Good, Doing it Right" Learning Fair
This event will offer hands-on activities for all ages that relate to understanding and promoting sustainability of our backyards, our community and our world. Timely, provocative, important.
The program is the product of the creative energies of the students in the MSU Museum Studies program.
Location: Throughout the MSU Museum
Primary MSUM Contact for Program Development: Dr. Kris Morrissey
Primary Event Coordinator: Dr. Kris Morrissey and Erik Larson
Day of Event Contact: Kris Morrissey

Tuesday, March 14
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Event: "Research and Exhibits," Gallery Talk by Marsha MacDowell, Co-curator, "Siyazama" exhibit.
MacDowell, Curator of Folk Arts, MSU Museum and Professor, Art and Art History, will give an overview of the research issues and methodologies used in the Siyazama exhibition project, followed by a short Q&A period.
Location: Heritage Gallery
Primary MSUM Contact for Program Development: Dr. Marsha MacDowell
Day of Event Contact: Dr. Marsha MacDowell

Sunday, March 19
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Event: "AIDS and Arts Education," Gallery Talk by Marit Dewhurst, Co-Curator, "Siyazama" exhibit.
Dewhurst, Doctoral Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Arts Educator at MoMA, NYC, will talk about her research in Durban for the Siyazama exhibit and other AIDS and arts education projects.
Location: Heritage Gallery
Primary MSUM Contact for Program Development: Dr. Marsha MacDowell
Primary Event Coordinator: Dr. Marsha MacDowell
Day of Event Contact: Marsha
Audience: Open to the public

Saturday, March 25
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Event: Film screening of "Yesterday" (2005)
Location: Theater B Wells Hall, MSU Campus
"Yesterday," a ground-breaking isiZulu feature film and the first ever South African film to receive an Oscar nomination in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. FREE.
Co-sponsored by the East Lansing Film Festival, March 22 through 26, 2006. http://www.elff.com/

Thursday, April 20
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Event: "Line by Line, Peace by Peace" Poetry Slam
Date: April 20, 2006
Location: Main Gallery
Description: With inspiration from two powerfully original exhibits, "Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory" and "Siyazama: Traditional Arts, Education, and AIDS in South Africa," high school and college students are invited to write, listen, and perform based on themes of war and peace, social justice, and AIDS at the first ever poetry slam hosted by the MSU Museum.
Open to the public and free of charge.
Primary MSUM Contact for Program Development: Kris Morrissey and Natalie Saunders
Primary MSU Museum Event Coordinator:
Day of Event Contact: Kris Morrissey

RELATED COMMUNITY ACTIVITY

April-May 2006
"Portrait of a Plague: AIDS and Art in Africa" exhibit
MSU Main Library, 3rd floor, West Wing
Free, open to the public

LATTICE (Linking All Kinds of Teachers with International Cross-Cultural Education)
Developed in 1995 as an international education partnership, LATTICE links six school districts in mid-Michigan with international graduate students/scholars at Michigan State University. LATTICE concentrates on adult learning and promotes practical links to K-12 classrooms. http://www.latticeworld.org/

East Lansing Film Festival
The East Lansing Film Festival is dedicated to showcasing foreign and independent films and to celebrating their diverse cultures, ideas and creativity. ELFF screens more than 100 films over five days, including 2 shorts programs. Audience Awards are given in each category. The 9th annual East Lansing Film Festival will take place March 22 through 26, 2006. http://www.elff.com/

Lansing Area AIDS Network
Dedicated to the delivery of services and programs designed to meet the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS and to prevent the further spread of the virus.
http://lansingareaaidsnetwork.org/501c/laan/

MSU Museum Studies Program
Grounded in theory, reflection, and responsible practice, the Michigan State University Museum Studies Program prepares undergraduate and graduate students for innovative careers in museums and interpretive centers of learning.
http://www.msu.edu/~msumsp

MSU Library

The educational activities associated with the Siyazama exhibit are supported with funds and in-kind services by the MSU Office of University Outreach and Engagement; MSU Office of Affirmative Action, Compliance & Monitoring; Michigan State University Museum; MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online; Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs; the National Endowment for the Arts; Lansing Area AIDS Network; East Lansing Film Festival; LATTICE; and MSU Museum Studies Program,
For more information about Siyazama, see http://www.siyazamaproject.co.za/

--

Image courtesy:

"Young Bride"
Doll, 1998-1999
Artist: Lobolile Ximba (Zulu), Muden, Msinga region, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, MSU Museum.