The most long-standing supporter of innovative art-for-charity event, 1000 Drawings Jozi, is undoubtedly Clem Phiri. Clem Clement is prone to hiding his light under a bushel, but we tracked him down for this interview. The first thing he said was, “Don’t forget to mention 1000 Drawings founders Felix and David!” Don’t worry Clem, we won’t.
1000 Drawings Jozi began over eight years ago when Felix Frankenberger and David Quan Chong got together because inner city soup kitchen, Paballo Ya Batho, had their delivery bakkie stolen, and they needed to raise money, fast. The rest, as they say, is history. Clem was part of the 2009 team at the inaugural event at Old Park Station. We asked him to share some of his highlights from years gone by.
“I’ve loved meeting people from different backgrounds, countries, ethnic and social classes. There’s nothing better to keep you connected than interacting with people from every part of society. I’ve also been able to explore different parts of Jozi on behalf of 1000 Drawings, finding hidden gems in the city, where we can hold doodle sessions.
The Mmabana Kids Club (MCOP) and Christ Church Christian Care Centre – the 5Cees have been an inspiration over the years. There’s nothing like doodling with children to bring out the pure joy of creating and the kids of 5Cees do just that! Another project I’ve loved being part of is the Boitumelo Project Outreach Foundation, these ladies have contributed beautiful A5 embroidery artworks. We’re encouraging embroidery donations on A5 this year, by the way...
It’s been awesome participating in Night of 1000 Drawings with future doctors that come and volunteer (special shout-out to Ash and the Wits Medical School students, so proud of you training doctors). It’s also amazing getting creative with The University of Johannesburg RAG Volunteers. They always help by pitching up for a few hours with NOATD before returning to burn the midnight oil for exams.
I’ve built up a special relationship with Pretoria through 1000 Drawings. With the help of Wet Ink Designs (Maryke Oosthuizen), Open Window School of Visual Communication (Mia de Kock and Maaike Bakker), Design School of Southern Africa (Carmen Baxter) and Media Mosiac (Mareli Wassenaar), we’re getting Pretoria doodling for Jozi.
Every year I get to appreciate all the creativity and hard work of the artists, illustrators, designers, photographers and the public, who turn up to support us. There are always people who arrive to do doodle sessions which you thought would never pitch. (Shout-out to Bianca Sgammini, Iga Motylska and the ladies driving downtown.)
Each year has been special and in 2016 we’ve even more people contributing to meaningful change in their communities. We’re at a cross road where we, as the Rainbow Nation, have a lot societal issues to overcome.
Let’s not be disheartened but emerge steadfast and embrace our challenges and rectify the problems at hand. Our focus for 1000 Drawings #GiveADoodle 2016 is on the inner city of Jozi, where it all began. Last year we raised R120 000 for Streetlight Schools, and this year we’re hoping to double that. I can’t wait for you to join us for a doodle!”
Many thanks to Clem for sharing his 1000 Drawings journey with us.
About: Night of 1000 Drawings
South Africa's biggest, one night only, inner-city art exhibition and sale to raise funds for education. 1000 Drawings is an empowerment project that culminates in a one-night-only, massive inner-city art sale to raise funds for a deserving cause.
Contact: Kelly McGillivray / Zandile Buthelezi