BY AKANI CHAUKE

THE MTN South Africa Foundation is harnessing digital innovation to support the development of arts in the country.

The corporate social investment wing of MTN SA has in partnership with the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery launched “The Blind Alphabet: Babery to Bigeminate: Sculpture and Sound by Willem Boshoff and Jaco Meyer” exhibition.

It will be open until November 24.

The exhibition will leverage technology in an effort to expand the appreciation of art and South Africa’s rich cultural heritage.

The Blind Alphabet inspires and helps develop the arts for everyone.

As an English dictionary written in Braille, it is intended for blind people to help sighted exhibition visitors to discover the meaning of the sculptures.

The initiative follows the presentation last year during the COVID-19 lockdown of 40 wooden forms representing the letter B in Boshoff’s seminal work The Blind Alphabet.

They were presented in wood, steel, and aluminium as part of an online documentary project for the Moving Cube, UJ Art Gallery’s online platform.

“As the corporate social investment wing of MTN South Africa, MTN Foundation is inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life,” said Niel Nortje, MTN Foundation’s Manager: Art Collection.

“One of our core beliefs is to provide the necessary support for the development of an ICT platform for the arts, culture and heritage sectors,” the executive said.

The event brings arts, technology and innovation closer together.

It comprises a physical exhibition with walkabouts as well as an online component with a Zoom webinar on YouTube and the UJ Gallery’s Facebook page.

The Blind Alphabet is part of the extensive MTN Art Collection. The sculptures are contained in mesh caskets intended for interpretation by visually impaired visitors.

Attached to the lid of each casket is a sheet of aluminium embossed with a text in Braille, giving the word, its meaning and derivation, and examples for its usage.

“It is a national priority to help drive the education, preservation and development of South African history and heritage. For MTN, we are excited to help improve outcomes through technology and partnerships,” Nortje said. – CAJ News