Cohnwille Swarts and his classmates were treated to a private tour of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town last week. Photo: Michelle Lategan
Cohnwille Swarts and his classmates were treated to a private tour of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town last week. Photo: Michelle Lategan

Young Cape artist treated to private Zeitz MOCAA tour, PNA donation for school

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Dec 22, 2020

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Cape Town - A nationwide stationery and art supplies retailer has come to the assistance of a young artist and his peers.

PNA reached out to Schoonspruit Secondary School in Malmesbury, Western Cape, after it saw media reports of talented Cohnwille Swarts, 18, a Grade 12 pupil from the rural community of Abbotsdale.

Swarts made headlines last month when his teacher shared his end-of-year work on Facebook.

Celeste Arendse, a visual arts teacher who has been in the profession for 20 years, was astounded by his talent.

The company said it was moved by Swarts’s art and said: “His pencil sketches depict the raw reality of the people in his impoverished community. Swarts brings about his experience in evocative portraits.”

PNA not only noticed Swarts’s talent, but also decided to take it a bit further by treating him and his visual arts classmates, Arendse and school principal John Stewe to a private tour of the internationally renowned Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town last week. It is the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world and opened its doors on September 22, 2017.

PNA group general manager Herman Botha gave all pupils a gift of their very own art materials during this memorable visit.

“A person’s first visit to a museum or theatre often ignites a passion, sometimes even a career. We believe it is very important that through this museum visit, these pupils realise that art is for everyone, and they can also aspire to have their art hanging on the walls of a prestigious museum one day.

“If PNA can play a small, positive role in sustaining their passion for art, we are happy,” Botha told African News Agency (ANA).

Botha also handed over a R10 000 PNA voucher to the school to use for much-needed art supplies.

PNA group general manager Herman Botha hands over the donation to Schoonspruit Secondary School principal John Stewe. They are joined by the school's visual arts teacher, Celeste Arendse. Photo: Michelle Lategan

Stewe accepted the donation on behalf of the school and said they were grateful for the opportunity and sponsorship from the retailer.

“These children mostly come from very poor homes and to be recognised and celebrated in such a meaningful way is wonderful.

“We simply don’t have the resources to bring our students on outings like this, so today is a special day for us all. And the R10,000 sponsorship enables us to keep art alive in our school,” Stewe said.

Swarts could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, Swarts had his first exhibition at the Solo Exhibition Festival in Riebeek Kasteel from December 6 until December 13.

Riebeek Kasteel is one of the oldest towns in South Africa and is situated 80km north-east of Cape Town in the Riebeek Valley.

Swarts has also been accepted to the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography and will be doing an advanced drawing course.

He received a full scholarship, including accommodation.

African News Agency (ANA)

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