SWAKOPMUND – There is a belief that by teaching children art, we are encouraging them to appreciate the beauty and aesthetics of their surroundings, as an important means for cultivating self-expression, imagination, play and creative thinking
Taking a positive stance to make this activity a possibility for all children, the COSDEF Arts & Craft Centre here is boosting their ‘kiddies’ workshops, which came onto the programme this past week-end when they hosted their third month-end market on Saturday, themed ‘Winter festival’. Children aged 12 years and under, packed into the COSDEF Oyetu hall for a morning of fun and expressive creativity, with visual art trainer Seth Amuthitu on hand to assist them in painting and piecing their creations together. The theme was to make puppets and fantasy creatures from toilet rolls, coloured paper and other materials, whilst utilising paint as a medium for the final artistic touch. According to some of the parents who were left to browse around the market, this is a welcome project for the children, which is drawing more participants each month.
“We are here to teach children the use of colour and basic craft techniques, and encourage them to think out of the box,” says Amuthitu, adding that he feels all schools should be teaching art as a subject, as it brings out the best in the young people. “Our kiddies workshops want to offer children in our community an opportunity to be innovate and encourage artistic activities, which is why COSDEF started this new project.” The first COSDEF festival over Easter offered a fun and creative theme for the kiddies who went all out creating bunnies, and colourful themed eggs. Next up was a fashion show, which saw children modelling garments they had made and pieced together out of painted newspapers and material off-cuts. “We want to make our month-end festival kiddies orientated, and different from what the other markets are doing by involving the youth,” says Michelle //Inixas COSDEF’s Arts & Craft coordinator, adding that these activities will include leather work, bead work, fashion, plus arts and craft.
“Our aim at COSDEF is to also provide an opportunity for disadvantaged school children to participate in our kiddies activities, by firstly getting them off the streets and to teach them basic artistic skills,” she added saying that all the kids get to take their work home with them, which gives them a sense of pride and self worth.”
Meanwhile, COSDEF’s Arts & Crafts Centre also aims to promote and develop diversified arts and crafts courses for the local youth, who are encouraged to learn skills to be self-sustaining. The centre offers both a space where the local community can produce and sell their products, as well as where tourists can buy 100 per cent Namibian products. There are 17 retail shops with a wide variety of different products including jewellery, textiles, t-shirt printing, craft shops, as well as COSDEF’s own Namibian Crafts Collection Shop & Gallery, where many of the goods are on display. The centre is also home to Yambeke Restaurant serving local cuisines.