National Arts Festival announces new Foto Fence project

BY GILLY HEMPHILL - NOVEMBER 28, 2014

The National Arts Festival has announced that the fence around the Fiddlers’ Green precinct in Grahamstown will become a temporary outdoor art gallery early in the New Year when the Foto Fence exhibition, featuring photographs of life in and around the city, opens to the public. At the same time as the opening, winners of a city-wide photography competition will be named.

The Foto Fence project is the brainchild of Rhodes University lecturer and photographer Brent Meistre, who hopes to identify up and coming photographers deserving of further training and mentorship through the project.

The National Arts Festival is championing the events as part of its Creative City project, which is funded in part by the European Union.

“The reason we’re embarking on the competition is to find some talented young photographers, people with a passion for photography and a good eye. We’ll then draw them in to our Makana Arts Academy training programme and help them get their professional careers started,” Festival CEO Tony Lankester said.

Meistre said that the judges were looking for photographs taken by ordinary Grahamstonians “reflecting their life in and attitude toward their city” in four categories: City/landscapes; Afro-futurists & selfies; Life up-close; and Live–action.

Meistre, who will head the judging panel and lead the process said that he was hoping: "to discover hidden creative photographers in Grahamstown who see their immediate world around them with a fresh, unique and different eye"

The judges will select the finalists whose work, together with the work of established Grahamstown photographers, will make up the Foto Fence exhibition in March. Anyone may enter the competition, but the stipulation is that photographs must be taken in the Grahamstown/Makana area.

The closing date for entries is 13 February 2015 and full details and entry forms are available for download at www.creativecity.co.za.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE CITY PROJECT & MAKANA ARTS ACADEMY

The Creative City Partnership sees multiple partners - the National Arts Festival, Makana Municipality, the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Rhodes University, Fingo Festival and Makana Tourism - join forces to guide Grahamstown toward becoming a centre of creative excellence beyond the annual festivals and institutions for which the City is already known.

Within the ambit of the Creative City project is a partnership between the National Arts Festival and European Union, which has created the Makana Arts Academy. The Academy aims to identify talented, creative individuals in the City who are seeking mentorship and training so that they are better equipped to embark on professional careers in the creative sector.