It started with two guys, Felix Fankenberger and David Chong, running a feeding scheme in Johannesburg’s inner city in 2006.
One day, while delivering food to homeless people, their van was stolen. Instead of wallowing in their loss, cursing South Africa, (as many have done before emigrating to another continent) the two decided to find a creative way to raise money for another van.
They got a group of friends together and started doodling, then sold all the artworks at an exhibition that took place for one night only.
This is how art event The Night of 1000 Drawings was born and it has since been held in different cities around the country and overseas in places New York, Berlin, Dubai and Tuscany.
Shani Judes, coordinator of the Cape Town leg of the event, which is taking place on Thursday ((28 August 2014)) said, “That night they raised enough money to buy a brand new bakkie and could continue feeding those in need. This is how 1000 Drawings was born.”
But getting 1000 people to submit drawings is not an easy task, even in a small city like Cape Town.
Judes says, “We host doodle sessions in all sorts of interesting places. Like the top of Table Mountain (we took 100 people to the top, 60 of them for their first time) as well as at the National Gallery” and other interesting places.
“When we explain what 1000 Drawings is all about people get it and they want to take part. We have schools and design colleges all doodling, businesses hosting their own doodle sessions, individuals having doodle dinners – it’s an open invite.”
Judes believes that there is something meditative about creating and a lot of people don’t know they enjoy it until they sit down at a doodle session and start.
“It’s also great because for the few hours that people doodle, they are not attached to their phones and in today’s technology boom it’s important to take breaks from our screens.”
The event has attracted some big names in the South African art scene including Conrad Botes, Beezy Baily, Linsey Levendal, Dathini Mzayiya, Mak1one and Faith47.
“We had a doodler visiting from America, she’s an artist for the animation company Pixar.”
Pixar has made high grossing animation movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.
Judes says they are still hoping Brett Murray will be able to submit his doodle for this month’s event and they hope to also have artist William Kentridge participating in the future.
The event will take place at the basement of the Good Hope Centre from 5pm to midnight.
Each doodle will sell for R100 and there are 6000 artworks that will be for sale.
Normally money raised from 1000 Drawings is donated to charity and it ends there.
“This year, I decided I wanted to do something a bit more substantial…I wanted to be able to see and show everyone what the money raised has gone to. I’m very youth-orientated and education is vital to the future of this country.”
Judes asked three organisations to get involved: Greepop (which plants trees in under-green areas); See-Saw-Do (which paints murals on the walls of underprivileged schools and provides art books in the leaners’ mother tongue) and HELP (which offers after school maths and science extra classes to children on the Cape Flats).
They will come together to try and make a difference at the Thomas Wildschutt School in Retreat through money raised from the event as well as the services offered by the three NGOs.
“It’s a great school that needs help, the Principal Mr Jansen is very positive and heavily involved in the school. The building and school grounds really need assistance. HELP Programme is already working in the school with the learners, assisting them with homework and life skills. With the money raised, we hope to paint the school building with murals and run artwork shops with the youth, plant trees and do environmental education with the learners. We would like to buy computers and set up a computer centre for the 450 learners.”
Judes appealed to companies to get involved by trying to match the money that will be made on Thursday.