Giving artists a nudge in the right direction

This month, the African Arts Institute launched The Migrant Artist’s Handbook: A Guide to Living and Working in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The mouthful of a title is actually a concise book that focuses on providing artists who are just starting out with tools, references and resources to deal with specific art disciplines and also, how to keep at it.

As acting director of arts, culture and heritage for the City of Joburg, Alba Letts, explained: “We are approached on a daily basis by migrant artists who are trying to find their way in the city in order to establish themselves as artists. We recognise the need for putting in place a support system that will provide them with information and increase their independence within a new environment. The Migrant Artist’s Handbook fills this gap and will be an invaluable tool for these artists to assist them to understand the cities they have come to work in.”

The handbook has two sections. The first section focuses on five disciplines: literature, visual arts, film, music and performing arts. These disciplines are prefaced by an overview as well as “How To” guides from artists that include the likes of dancer Mamela Nyamza, writer Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and musicians Neo Muyanga and Concord Nkabinde.

The second section is about resources such as communications, business and legal assistance.