Absa launches Virtual Kuierkamer for online KKNK

This year, Absa is launching a virtual version of their ever-popular Absa Kuierkamer, as part of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK)’s online festival from September.

“The KKNK has presented several online projects and productions over the past year. It is an online festival where we offer the arts to everyone in the comfort of their home - whether it is on the television or computer screen, on the radio, on a smartphone, or on your doorstep - the KKNK is everywhere,” says Hugo Theart, Artistic Director of the KKNK. 

According to Theart, Absa has been involved with the festival as a proud sponsor for many years and they continue to support the arts in this challenging time with the world still grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Absa Kuierkamer has become an institution at the festival, a place where festival-goers are entertained and informed and can spend time together. We are very excited that Absa is now bringing this experience to festival-goers in the comfort of their own homes and bringing a bit of Oudtshoorn and the festival joy to audiences everywhere,” says Theart.

“For the 2021 KKNK, Absa is adding a virtual approach to the festivities while also celebrating 16 years as a proud sponsor of the KKNK,” says Dr Paul Baylis, Absa Senior Specialist Art Curator. “We’re bringing innovations that will extend the reach of the festival beyond its usual territories, in the process introducing new audiences to the festival.”

A series of virtual engagements, activations and talks are offered during the online festival period to continue to make the arts, and possibilities therein for artists, a reality. “This digital art presence makes visual arts more accessible to diverse audiences, whilst also providing visual artists with a platform to explore and comment on issues that impact their lives,” says Bayliss. 

The Virtual Absa Kuierkamer mimics aspects of the host town of Oudtshoorn and will see numerous online activities presented where visitors are given access to a variety of multimedia content. “Functions are spread across the town and art lovers can explore various beacons and buildings, just as they would during the festival. The platform boasts a wealth of unique interactive features, and all these features are offered through a web-based application, which enables a seamless experience on computers and mobile phones,” adds Bayliss.

One of the highlights on the program is award-winning presenter Hannes van Wyk's Coffee Table Talks (popularly known as Koffietafelgesprekke). Van Wyk talks to his guests about, among other things, the impact of Covid-19 on the arts and entertainment industry and gives a look at the future of this industry.

Another virtual experience that will be presented, is a series of art documentaries titled Beyond the Canvas. The documentaries will focus on themes that have an impact on the South African visual arts landscape. The themes range from technology, social media, tourism, and graffiti, to recycling and food in relation to the visual arts and will include both local and international guests sharing their thoughts and experiences.

In addition, a series of six Business Talks is hosted by Absa’s Retail and Business Banking division (RBB) over the three-month period and will also see numerous guests invited to partake in conversations to find solutions to some of the country’s pressing questions. “Talks are compiled to focus on matters that contribute to the sustainability of our country at large,” Bayliss says.

We hear from Justin Schmidt on Renewable Energy and Manufacturing, James Noble sheds some light on the world of Franchising, while Abrie Rautenbach looks at what’s trending in Agribusiness. Fiks Dlamini focuses on opportunities in the Public Sector landscape and Kgalaletso Tlhoaele homes in on the importance of Enterprise Development.

A variety of inspirational and exclusive entertainment is also presented on the platform over the coming few months and it can be enjoyed by viewers for free. These include, amongst others: 21 Life Lessons, a series where well-known and prominent South Africans share their life lessons; comedy segments by our best comedians and storytellers; The Karoo Project, a special music series recorded by Zolani Mahola, Jitsvinger and Native Young in the Karoo during lockdown; and Oudtshoorn se mense, a series where residents not only showcase their talents, but also discuss the exceptional town and region. These sessions are available to all viewers to enjoy for free.

Absa also supports the KKNK’s second Virtual Gallery that opened its doors earlier this year. Bayliss is the curator of Absa’s exhibition, Emotion . Custom-made artworks by previous Absa L’Atelier participants, designed for this digital platform, are exhibited here. Stroll through the Virtual Gallery at www.kknk.co.za/afdeling/virtuele-galery/.   

The Virtual Absa Kuierkamer is presented over a three-month period, from September to November 2021. Click here an overview and virtual walk-through of the unique platform: https://bit.ly/3zW6RjP Visit www.kknk.co.za and follow the quick registration process for access to the Virtual Absa Kuierkamer.

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