Train of thought
We always say that Youngblood’s Arts and Culture Development aims to be a platform for artists, to start and to continue from…
Much like a railway platform, that is a raised and heightened area, a section of a pathway, from which passengers may embark or alight from.
According to the dictionary, a platform is also a declaration of principles and values, on which a group of persons stand.
In 2016 we got into contact with the visual artist Robyn Pretorius, via a random facebook message. When we saw her stunning artwork, it was like ‘love at first sight’. She was so shocked when we told her, that we were keen to be the platform for her first solo exhibition. Now in 2017 she has been on Top Billing, done some insane collaborations and was featured as artist of the month by Radisson Red, a first in Africa.
Robyn jumped off that platform to greater heights, but we love the fact that she keeps returning, packed with her ever so talented and endearing personality.
FIGURE OF EIGHT DANCE COLLECTIVE
At the beginning of 2013 we extended our platform with the building next door, number 74, and new spaces were created, new pathways were opened. We still remember Shaun Oelf & Grant van Ster asking for permission to clean up the then abandoned top floor of this building site, in order to have a space to dance and teach. That was the beginning of a great and magical journey, travelling locally and abroad, embarking on a variety of ever raising platforms, sharing their exceptional talent and skill. Shaun and Grant’s company ’Figure of Eight’ has become an integral part of the South African Dance industry. They are residents at Youngblood, where they are hosting regular dance classes and have their 2nd annual studio concert opening on the 30th of November.
A chance meeting and initial conversation between Kurt Minnaar and Marie Vogts developed into an explosive, skyrocket takeoff to a next level platform, called Dreamer Education. It is on this platform, where Dreamer Education and Youngblood Arts and Culture Development declared their shared vision, principles and values with the official launch of Dreamer Education’s Vanguard/Math Meets Art. Kurt Minnaar, an educator, an innovator and change leader in the education system has created waves in the way that he teaches mathematics through the arts. He has been all over social media platforms, has been recognized internationally and was keynote speaker at Eduweek.
The hope is to properly merge academic thinking with the Arts. The children of this world determine our presence and our future. It is their right to grow, to create and resolve fractions, to find equivalent answers, to make and break patterns, to dance every multiple imaginable, to explore existing rhythms and invent new ones, to know all about time signatures and intervals, to think in different dimensions, to understand the range of scales, to pitch, to find their own voice by differentiating tones and overtones, to discover harmonies and to finally experience all of the above as something enlightening and of great magnitude and wonder.
The day Marie Vogts entered Youngblood, she didn’t really know what she let herself into, but with a director and founder that gave her a clean slate to carve as she wanted and with a supporting team, Youngblood became a known platform for all artists to start off from and/or continue from.
A quote of one of the artists we have collaborated with says: ”But it is far more than just a beautifully inspiring setting, it’s also something about the people who make the gallery’s heart beat, pumping young blood, a pulsing sense of community and fellowship through its veins. It is these people, that believed in our project being more, but helped us launch our mission beyond the limits of the city’s high rises. These people are family, a network that we think of with gratitude. The heart and creativity is bursting from those walls, the love for talent and initiative is seeping from the cracks.”
As the year is closing, Marie is now jumping off this springboard, spreading her wings towards new journeys and carving her way further as a freelance creative project manager.
Youngblood will always be the start start of her journey, her family away from home and she will continue to collaborate on project basis.
Looking at the meanings of the word ‘platform’, one can’t help but feeling, that it is a wonderful reminder to embrace our different journeys and the constant changes, that form part of being alive.
It is a beautiful, as well as a great responsibility to create value by facilitating transit and exchange, between and for independent groups, places and individuals.
Let’s inspire and support each other to stand proudly upon this raised platform of purpose and action, enabling one another to go places, to change direction, to jump off one train of creative thought and on to another…and to do so safely.