Johannesburg Art NGO VANSA: Creating a Community for Mzansi Artists to Thrive by ‘Demanding Their Worth’

Johannesburg Art NGO VANSA: Creating a Community for Mzansi Artists to Thrive by ‘Demanding Their Worth’

  • The Visual Arts Network of South Africa has been going for 15 strong years, creating a community of over 7000 creatives
  • A META-supported NGO, VANSA is giving creatives a safe and nurturing space to flourish
  • Refilwe Nkomo, VANSA director, explains how vital it is for artists to "know their worth and demand it"

PAY ATTENTION: Never miss breaking news – join Briefly News' Telegram channel!

The Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA) has created a thriving community of like-minded creatives for 15 years. Artists are often underrepresented in SA, and NPOs like this are the only thing helping keep their worth known.

The Visual Arts Network of South Africa has been going for 15 strong years, creating a community of over 7000 creatives
The Visual Arts Network of South Africa has been creating an empowering and safe space for creatives for 15 years. Image: Facebook/ VANSA
Source: Facebook

VANSA was initiated by leading figures in the visual arts sector across South Africa in 2003 and is 7000 members as strong as it stands today. Refilwe Nkomo is the courageous director of the organisation whose unwavering fight to promote artists is inspiring.

Read also

Qualified scientist slays with poultry farm, creates employment in community

What VANSA does for creatives in Mzansi

VANSA operates as a support point and development agency for contemporary art practice in South Africa. Not only have they created a thriving and self-sustaining community of creatives, but they also provide these creatives with intern and learning opportunities, as well as places and platforms to showcase their work.

PAY ATTENTION: Follow Briefly News on Twitter and never miss the hottest topics! Find us at @brieflyza!

Their Facebook group is growing daily and is vital for connecting artists. Creating conversation around art, struggle, triumphs and all that goes with being part of the industry is vital and mainly done through social media.

“Art is a collective remembering and exploration of culture. Facebook groups allow people, no matter their economic status, or geographic location, to be part of the conversation - to see, ask questions and experience South African culture through its art. We would encourage you to be part of redefining how African culture and expression is seen globally by joining or creating an online community - because one cannot be what they can’t see,” shared Nkomo.

Read also

2 Africans win $500,000 to help thousands of people get better health through innovative cook stoves

At the VANSA headquarters in Johannesburg, there is a space for creatives to come, connect, learn and flourish. Creating this safe space is a proud milestone and the heart of the organisation.

Hearing from Refilwe Nkomo, VANSA director – the core value and mission

Bringing social justice to artists is what VANSA strives to do. They do this by giving deserving creatives a space to showcase their talent and "know their worth and demand it."

Their mission is to uplift the contemporary art practice space in Mzansi through networking, knowledge and empowerment. This is what their mission is:

“We develop industry knowledge, resources, networks and projects that are concerned with realising new social, cultural and economic possibilities for contemporary art practice in the South African and wider African – context.”

Refilwe prides herself on seeing how many creatives have come through VANSA and been seen. Placing interns at galleries like the Johannesburg art gallery, giving them a space to thrive, is what she lives for.

Read also

Briefly News partners with Meta to highlight the impact of digital communities in solving stubborn problems in Africa

VANSA is creating social justice for creatives, one lesson, connection, placement, and showcase at a time!

Some facts on the arts and culture industry that highlight its importance and impact

According to News24, the South African Cultural Observatory reported that the cultural sector accounts for 7% of employment. While seven percent might not seem like much, it is a huge statistic in relation to employment.

Due to a lack of support, funding and empowerment, the industry has been seeing a decline. Artists are not valued for their work and therefore cannot make a living off of what they love to do. This is where organisations like VANSA step in.

Mzansi is filled with untapped talent that deserves to be protected, promoted and nurtured. We can be so proud of the breathtaking art that comes out of SA in so many different forms, and we cannot wait to see what these creatives do for themselves, the industry and SA as a whole.

Read also

Lucretia Splinters: The woman using Facebook to create positive change in Cape Town

CPUT media lecturer who bagged PhD at UCT in 2022 shares how she balances mothering 3 little boys with work

In other news, Briefly News reported that a strong mother residing in Cape Town is grinding hard to balance her career as a media lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) with raising three boys.

Sisanda Nkoala wears many hats. She is a mom, a wife, an academic, and a lecturer who mentors other young women who aspire to be journalists and researchers.

Briefly News reported on the supermom bagging her PhD in Rhetoric Studies from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2022.

In a follow-up discussion, the 36-year-old reflects on some of her biggest challenges while balancing her career and family life.

PAY ATTENTION: Сheck out news that is picked exactly for YOU ➡️ click on “Recommended for you” and enjoy!

Source: Briefly News

Online view pixel