International Studies & Programs

Home > Attached to the Soil

Attached to the Soil

In his 1994 inaugural address, President Nelson Mandela shared the following metaphor expressing his aspirations for the new South Africa and its people...

I have no hesitation in saying each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the Bushveld. Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal.

Attached to the Soil (ATTS) began in 2019, the 25th anniversary year of President Mandela’s inauguration. It started as a series of 50 three-part artworks, finalized by the artist Peter Glendinning during his 7 months of service as a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa. Each work resulted from his collaborations with a South African youth who shared their aspirations for their country in a soil-related metaphor, and a person with a life experience related to that metaphor who shared their story and posed in a “tableau portrait” photograph related to their life's realities.

As a result of Prof. Glendinning's 2022 Fulbright Specialist service project, coordinated by the University of Pretoria School of the Arts, South African youth who attend his workshop presentations are invited to form their own 3-part projects and share them on the GYAN South Africa 2022 platform with youth worldwide! (see link below)

The future goal of this series is to provide an expanded platform that will include online workshop instruction for young people from other countries to prepare them to join in sharing the history and realities of their lives both in South Africa and beyond, through visual, oral, and transcribed storytelling. 

ATTS-GYAN is currently accepting submissions from students attending the South African universities Prof. Glendinning visited during his 2019 and 2022 Fulbright service.  The ATTS Project Workshop video will be a refresher for those who attended the in-person workshops he hosted at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Nelson Mandela University, North-West University, Stellenbosch University, University of the Free State, and University of Pretoria in 2022.  

For students from other universities he was not able to visit, the video will share all the information needed to formulate and create a project presenting their own aspirational metaphor, and a tableau portrait and oral-history story of their inspiring subject.  Please share this opportunity widely with your fellow students, no matter what their academic major.  Attached to the Soil is an opportunity for them all to join in expressing their hopes and reflections, and the realities of people they know and respect.  No special photography skills required!!!

The Global Youth Advancement Network at MSU is proud to showcase the collaborative projects created by young South Africans in 2019, and looks forward to sharing the new projects created in 2022 and beyond!

Coming Soon.png South Africa 2022 and beyond! 

GYAN is currently accepting submissions from students who participated in Professor Glendinning's workshops and lectures during his Fulbright Specialist service, coordinated by University of Pretoria.

Click the link above to find required forms and to submit your project!

1 - Ntando.jpg

South Africa, 2019

Click the link above to read more about and see a selection of the first Attached to the Soil series!

Copyright 2019 by Peter Glendinning: all rights in all media reserved, no reproduction without express permission of the photographer