Perth 2021 Awards Funding to Africa Connect Project

Local artist Su Grierson has been awarded £1,499 in funding from the Perth 2021 Creative Communities Fund to help facilitate a cultural exchange from Africa to Perth.

From 6th – 28th October 2017 Su will facilitate and host ‘Sharing Space – Perth Africa Connect’, which will take place in Perth and the surrounding area. African artists Adam Chienjo from Nairobi, Kenya and Henry “Izo” Anyanga from Nairobi and Hamburg, Germany will join with Su as Artists in Residence in Perth.

Based at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Adam who is a dancer, performer and choreographer, and Izo who is a drummer and singer who also plays the traditional African Nyatiti, will offer community workshops, events and networking opportunities for local people. Su, who lives near Methven, will also create a video documentary of the project.

Their trip to Scotland aims to bring a taste of contemporary African living and creativity to the people of Perth and enable visitors to meet and better understand life in Scotland today. They also hope to hold a creative event that brings local people together whose first language isn’t English.

The duo also intend to make a film of their own in response to the city and surrounding countryside that can be shown later in all three countries. Local people can expect to see Adam and Izo out and about dancing and drumming in the Fair City of Perth in October.

Su said: “The purpose of the Perth-Africa Connect project is to improve the multi-cultural links between Perth and Kenya. I rarely see African people, African arts or African culture celebrated in Perth, so I thought this would be a great way to introduce this vibrant culture to the people of Perth.”

The artists Su and Adam met while on The Performance Corporation’s SPACE residency in Ireland in 2015. They worked together and had significant discussions about their ideas and practice and decided to continue their collaboration. Izo has likewise worked with Adam in Africa and so the idea of a three-way collaboration was born.

Since 2001 Su Grierson has run the LookLook program in which she has invited some 55 international artists to visit Scotland and stay at her rural Perthshire home.  The artists all paid their own airfare but were accommodated free of cost to them. They have all been introduced to Scottish artists which has resulted in many Scottish artists receiving follow up invitations to exhibit abroad.

This is the second project in which she has actively sought to engage international artists directly with the public in Perth. For the celebration of Perth 800 she introduced the New Zealand artists Victoria Edwards and Ina Johann to the Perth Arts team and accommodated them during their successful residency in Perth.

Provost Liz Grant said:

“I am delighted to be the one handing Su the cheque for this fantastic project. The Perth Africa connect will show how important international cultural links are in the daily lives of people in Perth and Kinross, and will contribute to the understanding of people and cultures different to our own. It will introduce a colourful and vibrant new culture to Perth and the workshops will benefit people in our local schools, community groups, students and the general public.

Perth 2021 opened the Creative Communities Fund to enable inspiring local people, with a great idea, to bid for the funding to help make it happen. I’m glad Su has been successful and I wish her and her partner organisations the very best in delivering the project.”