23 November 2011 by Dianne Tipping-Woods

Award-winning art with heart

Ricky Lee Gordon, curator of /A WORD OF ART and local street artist, working under the name Freddy Sam, was recently announced as the winner of an Arts and Healing Network (AHN) Award.

The AHN awards support artists who actively connect art with healing: Gordon is one of three artists to receive the AHN’s “Next Generation” award, recognising practitioners between the ages of 18 - 35 years old. Gordon, the first South African to ever receive an AHN award, has won $4000 in prize money.

In an email they wrote to Ricky, the Arts and Healing Network said they were deeply inspired by his “incredible creative vision in the work he is doing with murals, youth, and artists in Cape Town”.

“We admire how you are using art within your community to revitalise and transform your neighbourhood. We are so impressed that at such a young age, you are so clear about your direction as an artist and we applaud you for your immense talent and leadership.”

On his blog, Ricky says he has decided to use the money to invest in the artist in residency programme, to expand it and allow for a workshop area to be used by both local and international artist in residence.

According to the website, residencies are largely self-directed and tailored to the needs and creative practices of each visiting artist. Up to five artists at a time are hosted in a shared live/work space in the Woodstock Industrial Centre, a repurposed industrial building just outside Cape Town’s downtown core that houses over 100 occupants working in many different disciplines - a perfect space to get to know the creative community in Cape Town, broaden your network and foster collaborations with local artists.

Residencies include on-going creative consultations with co-directors Ricky Lee Gordon and Indigo, studio visits, group or solo exhibitions of work produced while in residence, as well as many opportunities to interact with the greater community via Write On Africa community art projects and workshops, public art installations and road trips to other parts of South Africa and neighbouring countries.

These are fabulous, inspiring projects -art with heart - and projects I’m going to follow closely in the future.

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