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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 artist Peter Glendinning during his 7 months of service as a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa.

Each work resulted from his collaborations with young South Africans who shared their aspirations for their country in a soil-related metaphor. Each metaphor was then paired with a person with a life experience related to that metaphor, who shared their story and posed in a “tableau portrait” photograph associated with their life's realities.

Following Prof. Glendinning's 2022 Fulbright Specialist service project, coordinated by the University of Pretoria School of the Arts, South African youth are now invited to form their own projects and share them on the GYAN website worldwide!

Our goal for the future is to provide an expanded platform that will include online workshops for young people from other countries, to better prepare them for joining the ATTS series. We hope those young voices can be united in sharing the history and realities of their lives through visual, oral, and transcribed storytelling.

GYAN is proud to showcase below the collaborative projects created by young South Africans in 2019 and beyond, and looks forward to sharing upcoming projects!

Yamkela Tshicila wears a white dress and a white headscarf and sits on the ground next to a jug and a bucket, holding their arms out as sand passes through their fingers.

South Africa, 2022 and beyond

Click the link above to read more about the 2022 and beyond Attached to the Soil series!

Note: we are currently still accepting submissions from students attending one of the South African universities Prof. Glendinning has visited during his 2019 and 2022 Fulbright Scholar services. Visit the ATTS Submission Page to find required forms and know how to submit your project!

Copyright 2022 by Nonhlanhla Mthembu: all rights in all media reserved, no reproduction without express permission of the photographer.

Ntando spreading their arms wide and balancing in one leg, poses on a rooftop in front of wooden crates.

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.