These Are The First Social Impact Arts Prize Winners

The three Social Impact Arts Prize award-winners address problems faced by the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet

Noncedo Gxekwa

SIAP, Social Impact Arts Prize

The small and immensely beautiful Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet will soon become a hub of creativity following the announcement of the winning projects from the inaugural Social Impact Arts Prize (SIAP) — an inspiring initiative aiming to revive the town’s historic legacy. The winners were announced at a ceremony held at the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch, whose namesake Hanneli Rupert is the founder and chairperson of the SIAP project. 

‘All of the finalists demonstrated extremely responsible and authentic arts-based ideas that could address pressing social challenges creatively,’ Rupert said at the ceremony. ‘In inspiringly diverse ways, they presented workable solutions that could influence, affect or simply make us more aware of societal conditions in our world today.’

These are the three projects that bringing the brightest creative strategies to address Graaf-Reinet's unique challenges: 



SIAP, Social Impact Arts Prize

HELLO WOLK! by studioMAS and Gustav Praekelt, is a water-scarcity focused project that begins as an artwork, provides a certain amount of water, whilst also connecting to the community digitally. The artwork will be built in the image of a rain cloud that collects water from the atmosphere, which can be used to water a garden beneath the cloud structure. 

SIAP, Social Impact Arts Prize
SIAP, Social Impact Arts Prize

The cloud will also operate as a symbol of the digital cloud – offering free community wifi and a hub for community-based information. Young women living in the town will be taught to code, and update the cloud with health, education and literacy content, as well as information important to the community.


ALSO READ: City of Cape Town calls on Emerging Artists for Exclusive Exhibition



SIAP, Social Impact Arts Prize

TEARS BECOME RAIN, by David Brits & Raiven Hansmann, is a mass choir programme in response to the climate crisis.

The creation of this choir aims to instill hope and unite a diverse community by singing together for rain. Drawing on the rich choral history of the greater region, this project uses song as a tool to educate people about our precious water resources – while uniting people in their shared predicament. The narrative of Tears Become Rain is a story that follows the journey of a young San boy in a time of great drought. Crying, his tears of grief turn into rain and restore abundance to the world. Connecting contemporary lives to a story from our shared pasts is intended as an inspirational act.


ALSO READ: Furniture Designer Mmamotsatsi Masike is the First-Ever Recipient of the Ravi Naidoo Residency for Emerging Creatives



SIAP, Social Impact Arts Prize

PLANTed, by Lorenzo Nassimbeni, Andrew Brose and Casper Lundie, is a public project which gives visibility to the loss of local knowledge of medicinal plants and recognises the under-represented disciplines of craft, tech know-how, local food culture, architecture and indigenous languages. 

SIAP, Social Impact Arts Prize

This project will celebrate the plant life of Graaff-Reinet, whilst engaging local groups in the production and presentation of a central built structure for artists, designers and the local community to exhibit their plant knowledge and bring to light these overlooked aspects of culture and place that are often concealed.

Visitors to the Rupert Museum will be able to see and engage with all of the finalists presentations, after which the exhibition will move to the Jan Rupert Art Centre in Graaff-Reinet. For more visit the SIAP website and Instagram page for regular updates. 


ALSO READ: Cape Town Surf Brand Heads to Paris Fashion Week