In contemporary Africa, the Bushman artists of the Kuru Art Project bring back the role of art as an expressive outlet for their traditions and recent life experiences, as their ancestors had done in the many rock paintings all over Southern Africa. The Kuru Art Project encourage and assist these artists by exposing them to contemporary art materials and techniques and the administration and marketing of their art which became a much needed economic resource for this group of artists and their community.
The Kuru Art Project is a project of a community trust called the Kuru Development Trust. It is situated in D’Kar, a small settlement in western Botswana. Since 1990 the following artists worked with the project:
The fifteen artists currently with the project are from the Naro and Dcui San groups. They reside in D’Kar and all of them have grown up in the vast Kalahari sandveld around the Ghanzi district of western Botswana. They are skilled traditional dancers, storytellers, musicians and craft producers, and the transition to express themselves in contemporary art materials has come naturally to them. They work in different media and techniques, including oil on canvas, lino cuts, dry point engravings and lithography. They have won many awards, both collectively and individually and their work is to be found in private and public collections throughout the world. Members of the project have had their work used in many publications, book covers, on the tails of British Airways planes and on a set of stamps issued by the Botswana Postal Services. After twenty five years, the group is well known and their art have been exhibited in more than 15 countries globally with about 160 exhibitions. Since 1990, the Kuru Art Project has supported the cultural identity of San artists in the Kalahari desert of Botswana and provided an avenue for these artists to generate an income. The Kuru Art Project is located in D’Kar, in the Ghanzi district, where 70% of the population live in poverty. Artists participating in the Kuru Art Project use a variety of techniques: oil paint on canvas, linocuts, lithographs, and dry point engravings. Craft producers use traditional techniques to create ostrich eggshell jewelry, paint and print textiles, embroider, and applique. There are currently 15 artists and over 50 craft producers involved in the project.