Friday, May 2, 2014

The Windpump that Teaches Us Innovation

Today was one of those days where innovation, creativeness and uniqueness were everywhere to be found, even in the living room. When looking around us, we can often find artwork everywhere. Nature is in itself an artwork, but there are also the manmade artworks. Some of these manmade artworks have a way to surprise people with how simple the idea is, how little things it takes to make and how impressive the outcome is.

Many people are creative, but many people just keep it to their own websites or homes. Yet there are those who take their talent to the streets. When driving around Johannesburg, we often find highly talented dancers, mime artists and others with rather unique talents. Innovative art can also be found in Hartebeespoort Dam, on the way there and within it at the well-visited Chameleon Village. And then.... there are those artists who dwell in the 'other' nearby towns - Parys, Sasolburg, Vaalpark and Vanderbijlpark. These towns hold unique places, events and artwork. It was in Vanderbijlpark that I found a specific little gem of inspiring innovation.

A particular man was selling a 'windpomp'; an object of admiration for several people who were taking it apart to see how he managed to create it. The main parts of the pump were simply crafted from a tin. The rest was skilfully done with strong, thick wire. The bird that is so happily sitting in front of the tap, waiting for its water, was craftily made from a fallen conifer cone (better known as a pine cone). This is an artwork that took a lot of skill and time, but little resources.

There are plenty of tins lying around and many of nature’s own little pieces, which make this a financially practical and environmentally friendly artwork. It's impossible not to have respect for the way struggling or less fortunate people can often come up with the most innovative and unique ideas. We can all learn from their resourcefulness and about how not to waste, rather using and re-using what is available to us at the time. They don’t run to the shops the moment they don’t have canvas, they create their own canvas with what they see around them.

Look for your next artwork around your house, around your street and in your dustbin. You might find your light-bulb moment in something as simple as a dirty tin and some wire. This can be considered as proof that you can never say you’re too poor to make art. Art is inventing, art is seeing potential even in unlikely places.

Further browsing - some more links for Art from Waste:

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