DUT’S UNIQUE EXPRESSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES
By Michelle Harripersadth
There was a time when artistic expression in any form was frowned upon, but today, being able to combine your views in an artistic way is possible in a unique campaign called Art for Humanity.
Art for humanity (AFH) is a nonprofit organisation founded by Jan Jordaan, a Visual Arts Lecturer at the Durban University of Technology. AFH is a volunteer based organisation that prides itself on the creation of fine art and poetry that advocate various human rights issues in South Africa, Africa and internationally.
Director and founder of AFH, Jan Jordaan believes that inviting government officials to art exhibition openings is the right tool to convince them to convey a message about human rights issues affecting ordinary people.
Art for humanities main objectives is to promote a Human Rights Consciousness by using visual art as a public-advocacy medium dedicated towards cultural empowerment of society with a focus on the developing world, as well as to dedicate itself through its projects towards the professional empowerment of the visual arts and artists, primarily from southern Africa and the developing world.
Some of the past and current portfolios within AFH include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights International Portfolio (1999), the break the silence portfolio (2003), women for children (2006), Dialogue among Civilisation (2010) and Art of Human Rights (2015).
What reinforces the human rights aspect said Jordaan “was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights portfolio, commemorating its 40th anniversary in 1998, in which artists from 30 countries including some African countries that have suffered gross violations of human rights, contributed work to. The human rights collection of art is also housed in the United Nations in Geneva, Michigan State University, the Durban Art Gallery and DUT, amongst others”.
“The art will allow for the children to live and play within an environment which will inspire them with the values associated with good art,” said Jordaan. “It’s up to ordinary people to make things happen.”
As part of the celebration for human rights day last year, DUT and Arts for Humanity hosted its first on campus event in which Human Rights, cultural and educational issues were addressed. No celebration would be complete without some music and performances from South Africa’s finest guitarist Steve Fataar and SA band Expresso.
We look forward to commemorating 20 years of democracy this Human rights day with DUT and Art for Humanity.
“The work of an artist is the same as that of a journalist, they are both dependent on the freedom of expression,” said Jordaan.