Handmade Toys and Instruments by the Children of Makuleke Village

The Makuleke people are resourceful; they create the environments around them from found materials.  Community members build homes to live in, simply with soil, grasses and water.  Children of the village create the toys and games that they wish to play with.  They visit local dumping sites and find discarded materials, such as old wires, shopping bags, soda bottle caps.  They transform these old materials, giving them new life.  What was considered waste by one person becomes a treasure to another.  The Makuleke people have something to share with the world: a lesson that we can live – in fact, we can be satisfied and happy – with little.

In this photo: a handmade kite, a mask made out of cardboard, a wire car, two dolls made of vegetable sacks, 6 soccer balls made from plastic bags, and musical instruments.  Some of these objects were on display at the Museum of Art this year.


Makuleke Artwork at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Sharing to Learn has teamed with the Museum of Modern Art to bring toys from Makuleke, South Africa — crafted by hand with found materials — to the museum for inclusion in their ambitious Century of the Child exhibit, which runs through November 5.

Children in Makuleke begin creating their own toys at an early age. They scavenge for old wires at dumping sites scattered around the village, finding precious materials with which they construct playthings.  What they want and need, they make – with their very own hands.  And their innovations are not just functioning toys, but also beautiful works of art.  Sharing to Learn was proud to lend 6 of these works of art, including a wire car made by Tuki, a 16-year old child from the village, to the MoMA.  We were elated that the exhibit would provide a platform for thousands of people from all corners of the globe to discover what we already know: there is poverty in Makuleke village, but also talent, innovative problem-solving, and unfettered imagination.  The objects on display at the MoMA are brought to life through a video installation, which showcases children and teachers in Makuleke creating their toys.

In July, Sharing To Learn sponsored Tuki’s trip to NYC, so that he could see his work of art, and those of his friends, on display at the MoMA.  He had never been to a museum in his life; that his first experience was at the MoMA admiring his own artwork, s proof that dreams do come true.

A Makuleke Preschool Teacher holding handcrafted dolls, one of which is on display at MoMA.

Click below to see a short video produced by BBC News, covering Tuki’s arrival to NYC, as well as his visit to The Museum of Modern Art:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19289229

Click this link to see the video of 11-year old Kuhlula making a wire car, which is currently part of the STL video installation at the MoMA.

http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/videos/224/1125

The Century of the Child closes on November 5th, but you can still explore the exhibit through MoMA’s website (skip to the end if you want to see the work from the village first!):

www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/centuryofthechild/

 


Tuki’s Journey from Makuleke to NYC – Covered by BBC News

Many of my friends know the story of Tuki of Makuleke Village, who became my son a few years ago when he asked if he could call me “mom.”  He is just one of many beautiful children that I am proud to know, to love and to share my life with.  He has grown up very poor, like many others growing up in rural South Africa.  He was orphaned at an early age; he grew up fending for himself and raised by his siblings, children themselves.  He has known many struggles in his sixteen years of life, yet through adversities he has learned the art of resilience and resourcefulness.

Tuki and his friends grew up making their own toys.   They would scavenge for old wires at dumping sites scattered around the village, finding precious materials with which they could construct playthings.  What they wanted and needed they made – with their very own hands.  And their innovations are not just functioning toys, but also beautiful works of art.  Sharing to Learn was so proud to lend 6 of these works of art, including a wire car made by Tuki and his friends, to The Museum of Modern Art, for inclusion in the Century of the Child exhibit.  We were elated that the exhibit would provide a platform for thousands of people from all corners of the globe to see how talented the children in the village are.  We wanted others to also experience what we knew: there is so much talent in Makuleke village, in spite of poverty.  Poverty creates a need for innovation.

In July, Sharing To Learn sponsored Tuki’s trip to NYC so that he could see his work of art at the MoMA.  Tuki and I had been dreaming of the possibility of him visiting me in NYC since we first met in 2008.  Having his work of art on display at one of the most prestigious museums in the world was the impetus to make that dream happen.  The BBC heard about Tuki’s journey to NYC and decided to tag along for his arrival, as well as his visit to the MoMA.  Have a look at this video to see a snippet of Tuki’s visit.  His experience in NYC was full of firsts (first time in a park, first time walking on a bridge, first time eating a pancake, first time seeing a dog on a leash, first time eating sushi, first time in a yellow cab).

Watch as he visits a museum for the first time – to see his own work of art.  Watch to see a story of making dreams come true.

- Denise, Founder of Sharing to Learn

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19289229


On Display at the MoMA: Art Objects Made by Children from Makuleke Village

Children of the impoverished Makuleke Village, South Africa, rely on their innovation to create toys.  This wire car was made by Tshepo (“Tuki”), Rally and Mawisa, three teenagers that have been a part of Sharing to Learn since its establishment.  This car  reflects their creativity, as well as their ability to find ways to recycle discarded materials found at village dumping sites.  Sharing to Learn has lent the Museum of Modern Art this wire car, along with 5 other village art objects, for inclusion in the ambitious ‘Century of the Child’ exhibit.

Click this link to see the video of 11 year old Kuhlula making a wire car which is currently part of a video installation at the MoMA.

http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/videos/224/1125

Come to the museum to see more videos of children making artwork out of recycled materials. Sharing to Learn loaned the MoMA 6 art objects, which will be on display until November 4.