The 17th annual ELfest is underway at the Belgravia Arts Centre, showcasing various forms of artwork from learners in East London schools.
Well over 900 pieces of art have come through the Centre’s door for this exhibition. There are sections for visual arts and drama featuring work from students Grade 1 to 12.
“This festival was started by Elsa Radloff after seeing that there was no platform for children to showcase their artwork. In the drama section, the kids can enter in English, Afrikaans or IsiXhosa,” said organiser Cheryl Kent.
Judge for the Intermediate phase, Jan Pretorius, said the whole point of doing art is to learn problem solving skills which is fundamental for critical thinking and hand-motor skills.
“The whole brain gets stimulated so we look for original, spontaneous works of art where the child can express their own thoughts through colour and texture,” Pretorius said.
The high school section is contemporary and experimental, encouraging an assemblage of 3D art. Elements such as photography also form part of the display.
The centre also has an outreach programme that they conduct on Fridays with Greensleeves Children’s Trust. The aim is to boost the self-confidence of the children by exhibiting the work at the ELfest.
Andrew Hack, a proud parent of one of the featured students, is no a stranger to the festival, having attended last year.
“It’s really great, the kids have done stunning work. They are extremely talented and they keep upping their game every year,” Hack said.
Another doting parent, Hloni Tau, said that the work was very good and “good mentally for a child’s well being”.
The exhibition is open to the public, Monday to Friday from 08:30 until 15:30 and will run until June 15.