Photographer and contemporary artist Ms Cole Ndelu has been awarded an Artist Protection Fund Fellowship and is in residence at the Centre for Creative (CCA) Arts within the College of Humanities. UKZN is the first university on the African continent to host a Fellow in Residence through the Artist Protection Fund (APF).
The APF is an initiative of the Institute of International Education that protects threatened artists by placing them at welcoming institutions in safe countries where they can continue their work and plan for their future. Artists in safe havens are provided with fellowship funding, mentoring, and inclusion in a comprehensive network of artistic and social support.
CCA Director Dr Ismail Mahomed said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Cole as the first APF Artist-In-Residence at the Centre for Creative Arts and we are even more excited by the prospect that the University of KwaZulu-Natal is the first African university to ever host an Artist Protection Fund Fellow.’
Ndelu will work alongside the curators of the Centre’s renowned JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival, Time of the Writer Festival, Durban international Film Festival, the Poetry Africa Festival and the recently launched Artfluence Human Rights Festival.
‘Thank you to UKZN for taking a chance on me and joining the APF network; this is an amazing opportunity but moving forward this will be great for other African artists – in UKZN through APF Fellowship they will have a safe space, refuge and the support they need to continue,’ she said. ‘I’m looking forward to contributing to the various programmes, collaborating on a new body of work and the exhibition at the end of my residency with UKZN. I have lots of ideas, there are a lot of dreams inside of me looking to manifest and I’m excited about the possibilities.’
Ndelu’s work occupies the intersection between art, fashion, design, documentary, photography and spirituality.
‘At the heart of my practice is photography and the black community – I make work that celebrates, honours and champions black people. My work (and existence) is a counter narrative to the negativity and problematic representations of black people and Africa. I’m here to contribute positively to history and to the future, by making imagery that makes my kin feel seen, beautiful and possible,’ she said.