I’m gripping a dark, cool, unfired clay cup, squeezing it hard to leave my own personal imprint on at least one World Design Capital 2014 project.
‘That’s it, you can let go now,’ says Janine de Waal, co-founder of Ukusela eKapa. (I may have been leaving my mark a little too enthusiastically…)
Ukusela eKapa is a nifty WDC campaign that was the brainchild of Janine, an architect, and ceramic artist Hennie Meyer. It’s all about bringing the city’s people together through the simplest of gestures: a handshake.
10 000 clay drinking vessels – or ikomityi – have been squeezed by 10 000 hands, from us locals to tourists to Cape Town celebs to schoolchildren and even the Premier. After squeezing, each participant writes his or her name and age on the underside.
You can still be part of the movement by visiting the exhibition at Rust-en-Vrede gallery from Tuesday 11 November at 6:30 pm. It’s your last chance to squeeze!
Once the squeezes are wrapped up, Ukusela eKapa will host a massive-scale installation of all 10 000 ikomityi by artist Strijdom van der Merwe. It will take place at the Castle of Good Hope on 23 November, to tie in with Ceramics Month. If you’ve squeezed, you can head to the exhibition, enter for free and exchange the keyring you were given after squeezing for a completely random stranger’s ikomityi, completing the cycle, the handshake, the connection.
The ethos behind the project is that everything that is manmade is a form of design, even something as seemingly everyday as a cup. ‘The ikomityi are basic objects used for nourishment, and Ukusela eKapa will place this handmade, functional ceramic object in households across the Cape as a reminder that design is integral to everything we do,’ say the project’s founders.
Click here to watch how the ikomityi go from clay to finished product.
Photography Kendall-Leigh Nash/HSMimages.co.za and courtesy