2020 Social Impact Arts Prize winners: water scarcity in the spotlight in Hello Wolk!

Launched by the non-profit Rupert Art Foundation, The Social Impact Arts Prize is an exciting new South African art prize that describes itself as “in search of world changing ideas”. 

Unlike many established art competitions that focus specifically on fine art or a singular artist, this innovative new prize aims to reward arts-based projects and programmes that work in or across the spheres of education, employment, community, environment, technology and the arts and which creates a direct and measurable effect on individuals and communities.

The Social Impact Arts Prize winner will see their proposed site-specific arts-based activity, project or programme, brought to life in and around the town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape.

This year, not one but three winners have been awarded the Social Impact Art Prize 2020, including architectural firm studioMas and Gustav Praekelt of the social enterprise Praekelt.org for their proposal Hello Wolk.

HELLO WOLK! by studioMAS and Gustav Praekelt

Graaff-Reinet sits in the middle of the Valley of Desolation, one of the most water-scarce areas of the country. In their proposal architectural firm studioMas and Gustav Praekelt, whose social enterprise Praekelt.org develops open-source scalable mobile technologies, have focused on highlighting the importance of water and the valuable tools offered by digital technologies to spread awareness and information.

Hello Wolk! brings together a focus on the precious commodity of water, the hieroglyphic style of the indigenous Khoi-Khoi and the San (makers of mankind’s first artworks in the Karoo caves of Graaff-Reinet), digital technology and communication to create a functional community art installation.

The proposal is for an artwork built in the image of a rain cloud that collects water from the atmosphere, which can then be used to water a garden beneath the cloud structure. This cloud also has a digital component, offering free community wifi and serving as a hub for community-based information with young women from the local community being taught how to code and update the cloud with information about health, education, literacy and other information needed by the community.

Find out more about The Social Impact Arts Prize at socialimpactartsprize.org

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