This project was aimed at making use of the Tonkana blanket as a tool through which to collaborate and share knowledge amongst artists. The Tonkana blanket is an affordable object that has multiple uses and can be found in many homes in communities across South Africa; it is immediately recognisable. The project worked with the blanket over a two month period in and around Mahikeng, the capitol city of the North West province in South Africa, and it served as a tool through which experimenting, making and building networks occurred with young artists in the city. Several collaborations grew out of the project:
Maf-on-the-map sought to seek out local designers and artists so as to discuss movement between Mahikeng, the home town of the artists and Johannesburg, the elusive city of high hopes and dreams that dangles dreams of 'making it big' in front of their eyes. Discussions around why some artists have chosen to return home emerged. Local artists that collaborated in experimenting with the blankets and deepening these discussions were BLK, Mo and Twister.
The Island was a project that worked with local theatre groups and young performers. The project worked with a giant dress made from Tonkana Blankets that, at it's edges, rolled out into a picnic site upon which people from the public were invited into an intimate circle of performances for a short show. The performers workshopped interventions with this mobile island making use of nostalgic memories and song, sung by Mmathapelo Maphike, during the bitter cold nights where people gathered to watch the 2010 Soccer World Cup on giant screens erected in the Mabato Stadium.
Further collaborations included working with Lesego Molokoane (BLK) and Jonna Slappendel who ran workshops at a local NGO, Operation Blanket. Here seamstresses were invited in to experiment with the Tonkana blanket and other locally sourced fabric. The range was shown at the Mabato Stadium during the screenings of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Bagotsi Makhene, an artist and model, came on board to explore her dream of owning a coffee shop in Mafikeng and created a coffee bar named Maf Cosy that surrounding the catwalk where garments were being strutted. The catwalk was covered in the Tonkana blanket as were individual chairs that wrapped into the catwalk, keeping all spectators and customers cosy in one big blanket as coffee was served to them. The cat walk was illuminated with the talents of the local dance crew U Antics, who practice daily in the dance studio within the Mabaho Stadium, in collaboration with cultural operator Ra Hlasane. Hlasane and local designer Mo worked on screen printing the blankets that decorated the catwalk area.
This project formed part of the Cascoland interventions:
"Leading up and during the World Championships Football in South Africa 2010 Cascoland plans to initiate a series of interventions, installations and actions in and around the underused Mmabatho sportsstadium in Mafikeng, South Africa, in close collaboration with local participants, artists and communities. Thus proposing solutions to render the investments into the WC 2010 sustainable for those currently not benefitting from them. The interventions can be an incentive for ongoing initiatives and for the development of strategies on how the results can serve as an example for the re-activation and re-functionalizing of un(der)used architecture in general."
Meghan Judge - director, designer
Jonna Slappendel – Maf Fab; Workshops
Bogosi Makhene – Maf Cosy
Ra Hlasane – Maf cosy and Maf Island
U Antics – Maf Fab
Blk – Maf Fab; Workshops
Mo – Maf Cosy; Maf-On-The-Map
Twister – Maf Fab; Maf-On-The-Map
Mmathapelo Maphike – Maf Cosy -Island
Wouter Nieuwendijk – Maf Fab; Maf Cosy
Cascoland: International network of artists, architects, designers and performers sharing a fascination for interdisciplinary interventions in public space, promoting mobilization, participation and networking through artistic exchange and collaboration. Projects are initiated by Fiona de Bell and Roel Schoenmakers and executed with multi-disciplinary teams of artists and designers.