We are celebrating our 15th anniversary at QKunst this year and our treat is art. In one of the three winning locations, Long Street in Soweto, Johannesburg, artist Yasser Ballemans is starting a two-week residency today. He was chosen by this location’s very active and involved community among a selection of artists introduced by QKunst. In the following weeks, he will give us updates on Instagram en Facebook.
Unlike in the other locations (the Van Gend & Loos building in Helmond and the Ritakerk in Amsterdam Noord), we opted for a residency in Soweto (instead of a concept sketch) due to the nature of the location. Indeed, Long Street actually consists of two places and the social connection between them: on one side of the street, a primary school is located, on the other side of the street a church, where gogo’s find support and shelter during weekdays. The gogo’s are grandmothers that often provide daily care for the children that go to the school on the other side of the road.
During his residency, Yasser will work closely with the gogo’s, the schoolchildren, the teachers and other people involved. This way they can get to know each other and exchange stories. During workshops and gatherings, Yasser will explore the possibilities for a more permanent artwork.
Yasser Ballemans (Breda, 1981) studied at the Sandberg Institute and lives and works in Amsterdam. In his work, he is looking for a natural form for art, within the contemporary societal, functional domain. He is especially interested in rituals and celebrations, in particular carnival. ‘My belief is that art is very well suited to deepen and enrich our ritual experience.’
In the last few years he made several public space works, for instance for the Dutch municipalities of Nieuwegein and Rotterdam. Last week he delivered a commissioned public artwork in Amsterdam, for which he also collaborate with the local community. Yasser’s work is regularly on view in museums, galleries, and artist initiatives, such Kasteel het Nijenhuis bij Museum de Fundatie, gallery Joey Ramone and Onomatopee.
QKunst 15 years: artist in Johannesburg