Ilana Manolson is a 2008 MCC Painting Fellow. She is currently traveling with other fellow Massachusetts artists to South Africa where they will create work at the Artist Proof Studio. She has graceously offered to share her experiences on ArtSake.
South Africa has become a fascinating place for artists of many diverse backgrounds to create and learn. Along with my printmaking colleagues Jane Goldman and Catherine Kernan, I’m traveling to Johannesburg to spend several weeks working with Artist Proof Studio, a powerful community-based visual arts training program founded by the inimitable Kim Berman.
Kim is a transformative artist-activist who I got to know and admire when she worked as an assistant at Artist’s Proof Collaborative in Cambridge (founded by our group of four fine art printmakers, Mary Sherwood, Jane Goldman, and Catherine Kernan and me, Ilana Manolson). When apartheid broke down in South Africa, Kim sold her belongings, bought a press with the proceeds, had it shipped to South Africa, and moved there herself to found Artist Proof Studio. The studio now trains local artists, often from very challenging backgrounds, providing them with the skills, experience, and qualifications to sustain careers as artists and printmakers.
One of the things that I share with Kim, Jane, Catherine, the Artist Proof students and professional artists, and other printmakers is a sense of wonder, possibility and connection that comes with printmaking. Unlike many other fine art processes, printmaking relies on shared equipment. A group working in the same space, with the same tools and presses, develops into a community, with it’s own creative vitality. We are all so delighted to share in the vitality that Kim has taken from Massachusetts and grown into a unique resource in South Africa.
While in Johannesburg, I’ll be training Artist Proof graduate artists in specialized advanced printmaking techniques, as well as having an exhibition, Connected by Roots, of my new prints and paintings done on Mylar (these pieces are 39″ by 79″). It will be an artistic and personal adventure for us all, with new stimuli and new challenges. I’ll be posting updates from the journey – watch this space!
Image credit: All works on mylar by Ilana Manolson.