Making a Mark
The Eastern Cape, where the Social Impact Prize winner’s project will come to life, is home to some of the most ancient rock art in the world.
Reflecting on the rich cultural heritage that is pecked, scraped, painted and inscribed into the granite of the Eastern Cape.
The very first artists known to have existed came from the Eastern Cape. The rich cultural heritage of rock art, created by the Khoi San are drawings made of animals, figures and even abstract patterns, made with coloured pigment, reveal a self-awareness that continues to amaze. Known for far more than its beauty, research shows that rock art played a fundamental part in the lives of its artists. It reveals a place inhabited by spirit creatures, where people travelled in animal form and shamans could draw power for healing, rain-making and bountiful hunting. This rich lexicon of art where our shared ancestors first made their mark, which signifies a mark of belonging, a signifier of culture made visible.
Rock art’s resonance over the millennia still has the power to shine a light on the cultural, psychological and spiritual lives of our ancestors. As the late President Nelson Mandela said: ‘Africa’s rock art is the common heritage of all Africans, but it is more than that. It is the common heritage of humanity.’ Such shared history in rock art is a natural conceptual starting point for a community artistic initiative that unites and has the power to inform our shared futures.