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Recypal by Liam-Ponto-Gr-9Recypal by Liam Ponto (Gr 9)29 August 2016 – With the Seats of Knowledge Project the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Library raises funds for one of the biggest electronic libraries on the African continent and supports the young emerging artists from the National School of the Arts (NSA).

UJ has commissioned artworks from commercial and emerging artists in Gauteng, based on the theme, ‘Seats of Knowledge’.

The resulting art pieces, interpretations of chairs, include contributions from young artists form the National School of the Arts and from well-known artists such as Gordon Froud, Lehlohonolo Mkhasibe, Guy du Toit, Boitumelo Mazibuko, Craig Muller, John Yannis Generalis, Melissa Generalis, Eric du Plan, Sybrand Wiechers, Lothar Bottcher, Izanne Wiid, Sally Rumball, Ana Pather, Annali Dempsey, Heather Cunningham and Gregory James.


Up for auction

The auction of the artworks kicked off at a special event at the Chinua Achebe auditorium at UJ Kingsway Campus on 22 August with impassioned speeches by Executive Director Dr Rookaya Bawa, Vice-Chancellor Ihron Rensburg and Prof Pitika Ntuli and musical performances by Bill Cisco, Federico Freschi and Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.

During the evening R700 000 was raised and the bidding continues online until 20 September via the Seats of Knowledge website.


Hub of creation, organization and sharing of knowledge

Prison of Freedom by Precious-Tshabalala-Gr-10Prison of Freedom by Precious Tshabalala (Gr 10)The auction raises funds for the library at the University of Johannesburg. "When people invest in these artworks they are buying into one of the largest electronic libraries on the continent,” says Dr Rookaya Bawa, executive director of UJ’s Library and Information Centre.

“This initiative will expand the capacity of the library as a hub for the creation, organisation and sharing of knowledge.”

UJ aims to become one of the world’s major repositories of digital material coming out of or related to Africa. The funds raised at the auction will be channelled towards the completion of a digital information centre and to develop the repository of e-materials about Africa.


Platform for learning and recognition

A Pink Thought - Thabizolo-Msimango-Gr-9A Pink Thought by Thabizolo Msimango (Gr 9)Along with prominent individual South African artists, UJ partnered with the National School of the Arts to give tomorrow’s aspiring artists a platform for recognition.

NSA features a successful Arts Department, specialising in Visual Arts, Two Dimensional and Three Dimensional Design. Courses within these subjects include classes in sculpture, printmaking, painting, photography, ceramics, jewellery, design and digital design.

Being a Government school, the NSA is in serious need of funding as most of the learners are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, in which case, UJ and the NSA agreed on a honorarium fee per artwork towards the purchasing of materials and support to the Arts Department.

The NSA has a history of producing successful students for UJ’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA). Executive Dean of the Faculty, Prof Federico Freschi also holds status to the NSA alumni.

Being briefed on the following, the Department of Arts at the school incorporated the programme into the school’s curriculum for the 2nd semester:

  • Produce 72 artworks based on the theme “Seats of Knowledge.”
  • 35 artworks must be innovative chairs inspired by what the future may look like digitally for libraries and educational platforms;
  • Other artworks do not have to be a physical chair, but have to represent a “Seat of Knowledge, through the use of different artistic mediums.


Learners invested a substantial amount of time doing research into their understanding of “Seats of Knowledge” and used that information as a motivation for the creation of their artworks. Every artwork comes with not only a personal touch of art and material, but also a personal message to potential art collectors and buyers interested in the support of young and emerging artists in South Africa.

According to the young emerging artists from the NSA, they benefitted from this challenge in a conceptual way and gained an understanding of what the process of careful planning, implementation and the importance of a deadline and service delivery might look like one day in their professional careers.


For more information please visit the Seats of Knowledge website and follow the auction on Twitter via #UJLibraryFundraising2016.



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