Art: The Other Thing; Image: Reza Assar

So here’s the deal: AfrikaBurn isn’t a music festival. And because it’s not a music festival, there are no DJ or live band lineups, and no headliners. In the dust, it’s the projects that are the headliners – and even those are largely only revealed on arrival.

What AfrikaBurn is, is a self-organised experiment where you’re invited to create and collaborate. To find out how you can be part of the experiment by creating artworks and performances, see below.

Art: 2019 Clan
Image credit: Jonx Pillemer

If you can imagine it … you can make it …

Tree of Stories

Art: Tree of Stories
Image credit: Alastair Mclachlan

Anything’s possible on the flat dusty plain of Tankwa Town – and you don’t have to be an artist or a performer either; all it takes is an idea, and the will to make it happen. Collaborate or don’t, whether you’re a pro or not, it’s simply about self-expression. Go as big or as small as you like: the only limits are your imagination.

With that said, it is important to take responsibility. Anyone making a commitment to creating art at Tankwa Town must take responsibility for all aspects of that creation. From filling out the art registration form, participating in dialogue with the Art Wranglers, arriving at Tankwa Town, protecting your art, lighting it, maintaining your artwork during the event to cleanup at the end. It’s not a small undertaking but it is massively gratifying and Tankwa Town will love your gift.

In this page you will find all the info you need about:

Interested in creating art? 

Things to think about if you want to make art at AfrikaBurn:

Choose your crew wisely. Your team can make it happen or drag you down! Build your team, and make sure that everybody in your team buys into at least some aspect of your project. You need your team to feel ownership for this project.

Spread the love. Consider including someone new in your team, who otherwise would probably not have the chance of experiencing this. Diversity and skills exchange are encouraged. Remember that radical inclusion is a thing at AfrikaBurn.

Be creative. Recycle. We encourage you to use of waste materials and we love it when you turn waste into art  Burning your art piece is not mandatory and not encouraged, but if you feel that it is important to the actualisation of your vision of the piece, then we’re happy for you to do this. If it is your intention to burn the piece then be mindful of what materials you use in the construction. 

Design your artwork with a purpose! Start at the end point and work your way back. A world with more art in it is a better world so ideally your artwork will have a life beyond AfrikaBurn and Tankwa Town. When designing your piece, think of what you would like to do with it next: would you like it to be reconstituted in a public space after the event? If so, design your piece to be dismantled and reassembled.

Would you like your artwork to be the beginning of something else? The materials of your artwork can be donated after the event. If that’s your plan, consider how to make use of materials in a such a way that they can be repurposed, in the design phase.

Are you planning on burning your piece? Please think carefully about your motivations. Although your artwork does not need to be approved, your burn does. If you would like to burn your artwork, design a burning artwork. Please read more about Building Art to Burn below.

The challenge and freedom you have at Tankwa Town is to create something that will inspire, engage, question, puzzle, amuse, seduce, generally rub up against and influence the citizens of Tankwa Town. Interactive work convenes society around itself – it generates roles, provokes actions and transforms participants into active contributors to a creative process.

Participants at Tankwa Town are encouraged to explore and interact with the art, or perform some task to activate an art object. Touching, climbing, entering, engaging and exploring are encouraged – think about this when designing and dreaming up your piece.

Your artwork has to be safe! It is your responsibility to make sure that the citizens of Tankwa Town are safe around your piece. Take into account the elements, the climbers and the midnight wanderers. Lighting your piece is a very important safety aspect. Please read more about Artworks Structural Safety.

Use light as an aesthetic element and include it in the design of your piece. Lighting your artwork is mandatory for safety reasons, but while you’re at it, why not make it in a beautiful way? When designing your artwork, don’t forget to make provision for lights, including how you’re going to make sure that your piece is lit throughout the event. Please read more about that below.

One of the major design steps in bringing art to Tankwa Town is deciding how to light your artwork and incorporate lighting into your piece.

The goal is to make your art visible at night to:

  • Prevent destruction of your art from accidental art car/bike/pedestrian collision.
  • Prevent injury to participants.
  • Look awesome!

People should be able to see your artwork before they arrive at it.

360 degree safety and lighting is important. As most lighting is directional, ensure no dark spots in your lighting design by putting up spot-lighting or consider also adding perimeter lighting.
Lighting your art should be considered in the art’s design, not as an afterthought.

Light your rebar
This structural part of your project is often overlooked and is one of the largest causes of injury in the Binnekring. Make sure to mark it well!

Enhance your lighting system
Mirrors, reflective tapes, reflectors, and other shiny surfaces can reflect not only your deliberate lighting, but also headlights from oncoming vehicles.

Unnacceptable forms of light
There are many forms of light for you to choose from. See below for more info on the encouraged forms, but please do NOT use

  • Chemical lights (“glow sticks”): they don’t last an entire night and are bad for the
    environment.
  • Fuel lanterns: no unattended flames are allowed.

Electroluminescence
Highly portable, flexible, and customisable, electroluminescent (EL) panels and/or wire.
Available in neon/fluorescent colors, different shapes and diameters.
Can be powered with simple or sophisticated lighting controllers.

Incandescent lighting
Highly accessible.
Available in standardized packages.
Generates light omnidirectionally.
Consumes a lot more power, produces more heat, and is far more fragile than their updated counterparts.

LEDs
Highly efficient, effective alternative to conventional lighting.
Compact.
Available in an array of colors.
Easy to power and control.
Perform well in extreme environments.

Neon
Highly efficient.
Consumes little power in operation.
Can last for years if utilised properly.
Since neon tubes are made of glass, consider placing them out of reach to guard against breakage.

Rope lights
Available as incandescent bulbs or LEDs.
Inexpensive solution.
Can make a great demarcation, point of reference, and/or general area light.

Solar lights (garden lights, etc.)
For ground-mounted solar lights, consider lifting them up and off the ground in an attempt to keep dust from accumulating on the integrated solar panel and/or LED light, which can greatly impair their functionality.
Can be used for perimeter marking or accents, but not very bright and should not be considered main source of lighting.
If not staked down properly, can be blown away or get stolen.
For larger solar light installations that require solar panels:
See section below

You Are Responsible for Making Sure that Your Artwork is Lit Throughout the Event
No matter the source of power you’re using, it needs to be checked daily prior to sundown to ensure your art will be lit throughout the night.

Before acquiring components, it’s important to take the time to properly design your system around whatever you may be powering. Keep in mind that the more components you add, the larger the solar system will be. Always build margin into solar systems, be sure to account for no/low solar days, plan for worst-case scenarios and bring along additional components to perform on-site repairs. Solar systems require daily maintenance to remove dust and check connections.

This basic overview is designed around lighting loads, so these solar systems are
considered small, at/under the 100 watt range.

The core components of a basic solar system consist of:

Solar Panel(s)
Generate low voltage dc power, typically 12vdc, identical to the power generated by your vehicle through a cigarette lighter plug.
When choosing your solar panel, think of how it’ll be mounted. Whether it’s ground-mounted (will require perimeter lighting), pole-mounted or mounted directly to your art, make sure that your solar panel is properly secured.
When securing your system, take wind load, dust, potential impeding shadows, and electrical grounding into account.
Mounting a solar panel flat reduces its efficiency.

Charge Controller
A protective, inline device that manages the power produced by the solar panel prevents the battery from being overcharged and/or potentially damaged.
Some charge controllers integrate a photocell and/or timer functions, enabling system
autonomy.
If your charge controller does not offer these functions, you may consider adding one so you don’t have to physically turn your lighting on/off every day.

Battery
Size and capacity is determined by your power load.
Important to have enough power to account for poor solar conditions.
Prefers stable, cooler temperatures (keep out of direct sunlight, consider a ventilated enclosure which can also double as a space for other solar equipment and wiring).

Wiring and Connectors
To connect solar panel to charge controller, charge controller to battery, battery to your
lights.
Ensure all wiring is properly anchored to avoid potential trip hazards.

Re-using Your Lighting
Post-event, your lighting system can be used for future years if it is in good condition.
Consider donating your unneeded lighting objects to avoid them ending up in a landfill.

Art installations on the Binnekring may contain ambient sound elements that are integral to the installation. Does your project have a sound component or is it a party site? You’ll have to motivate to have installed sound on your artwork. If you’re considering this, please read our Sound Policy.

Please consider coming early to set up before the gate opens, so that when the event starts you are not working during the event to complete your piece (you’ll need to get permission for an early arrival). Do not underestimate the Tankwa weather. Allow yourself enough time to build your artwork.
If you are going to be doing an extended build in Tankwa, there are a lot of things to consider. You will be allowed to set up your camping and workstation at the build site, but will have to move prior to the start of the event with enough time to MOOP and make the site safe. You should also consider whether you are happy with setting up your personal camp twice. Chat to some people who’ve done it before, get good tips and advice – it’s not easy.

You’re taking your piece a long distance to an outdoor event, at the end of a long stretch of dirt road, in the desert. Keep this in mind when you’re doing your planning! If your artwork is large you’ll need the right transport. Think about weight, size, and a suitable vehicle. Remember the weighbridges and don’t forget the dirt roads. Consider the cost of building in Town and transporting the larger pieces of artwork vs. transporting flat packed items and assembling them on site.

We aim to leave our venue as close to the way we found it as possible. You must have a plan for the removal of your artwork and all associated debris. Please read about Leave No Trace.

We invite you to register your artwork by filling in the Art Registration forms online. This is not a requirement – unless you are intending on burning your artwork and/or want to apply for a Creative Grant – but it is useful! The form is designed to help you work through all the complexities of bringing art to AfrikaBurn.

And if your artwork is registered we can allocate a specific spot for it on (or off) the Binnekring, and include it in the gate handout.

NB: Your artwork does not need to be “approved” (unless it is radically unsafe or inappropriate), so don’t hold off on creating!

Heads up: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BURN YOUR ART!

In fact, we strongly encourage you to consider creating art that can be dismantled and re-purposed – as building materials for disadvantaged communities, or to live beyond the event, and bring joy to communities who could use some. Could your piece become a jungle gym, for some kids who’ve never had one? Maybe those beams could be used in building a roof? Think about how your piece will make a difference in the world.

If you’re thinking about making art to burn, please read about building art to burn below. And if you’re thinking about making art that will go on to have a second life, mail [email protected] so we can assist you with your plans.

So you’re planning on building something beautiful and then burning it? Great – but before you design and plan with a mind to burn your piece, consider carefully whether burning is important to the meaning of your piece. Just because the piece is going to AfrikaBurn doesn’t mean you have to send your artwork up in a ball of flames. We love art that burns beautifully – but we also really love art that has a life beyond Tankwa Town.

Not everything can or should burn. For example, if the piece can be re-purposed and re-erected in another location where it will bring joy or beauty to another community, that’s a clear case for not burning it. Another case would be if the materials you used to build the piece could be donated to a community in need and re-purposed for building materials. In the case of artworks built using plastics or other materials that give off toxic fumes, there’s a clear case to definitely not burn. When you register your project, these are things that our Art Committee and the Pyro Team will consider in assessing your request to burn your piece based on your motivation and design.

Building a sculpture, and building a sculpture to burn are two very different things. If you’re intending to build a sculpture that burns remember that effectively you are building a fire that looks like a sculpture. This means that burning it is an integral part of the design of your artwork.

If you can, get advice from a pyrotechnician.  If you don’t have a tame one of your own at home, contact [email protected] for input on your build and burn plans.

Consider how your structure will burn. A good guide is the fire triangle. To burn well, a fire needs fuel, heat and oxygen. Let’s look at each of these:

You should build your structure from wood, fabric, and other good fuels. The size and spread of fuels affects the burn, with small or thin pieces burning quickly, as opposed to thick beams that will be hard to light and take longer to burn through. You can top up the structure with accelerants such as wax and paraffin to make the burn quicker. No napalm or other nasty chemical cocktails! Wood scraps and waste cloth also help. In fact, if you’re building to burn you really should be using as much reclaimed, recycled or waste material as possible. Avoid petrol as it is very volatile and can be explosive. Diesel can be hard to set alight.

Heat is spread three ways, namely conduction, convection and radiation. Convection is the most important of these for burning a sculpture. Start the fire at the bottom, and design your sculpture with chimneys in it to channel the heat. Chimneys also trap radiant heat. By contrast, open or latticed structures are hard to burn.

In most cases there is plenty of oxygen available, but again chimneys are useful to get a flow of air through the sculpture. Make sure that the chimney has openings at both ends to let air through.

Avoid any materials that will give off toxic gases when burning. Plastics such as PVC, foam, some paints and treated wood all give off noxious gasses when set on fire. The best materials are untreated wood and cotton cloth.

Please use natural reclaimed, recycled and waste material wherever possible.

Burning your piece is an artwork on its own and a lot goes into it.

Our Fire and Art teams are committed to assist with your burn, but it’s your responsibility to provide all relevant and specific information about your piece and plans, to read and respond to emails, to attend pyro and safety workshops, to read all information available, and ask for more information if needed.

If you’re planning a large burn and/or if it involves a complex fire component, we strongly suggest that you designate a fire person in your team. This person is responsible for organising the safety of your burn, including organise and manage your burn perimeter and make sure that there are fire extinguishers on hand in case of an emergency, etc.

And don’t forget that you’ll need to clean your site thoroughly the morning after your burn. This includes the removal of all burn debris – charred wood, nails and staples and other metal, even the ash must be swept up and taken away for appropriate disposal when you return home.

Compulsory reading: Fire Art Safety Document

Burns are subject to assessment and only some will be scheduled. These are exceptional structures, designed to burn beautifully, or needing to be burnt for reasons inherent in the meaning or intention of the piece.

Why do we limit the number of burns?

A burn is a period of intense energy – whether combustive and celebratory, or introspective and meditative – and it draws people together. Having numerous burns dilutes the potency of that experience, for everyone. When there are lots of burns, the immediacy and potency of the experience is lost if we’re hustling off to find the next one. And for the crew who find themselves burning alone, it can feel like a bit of a letdown.

The most important practical reason is that we simply don’t have the space and the resources to properly manage numerous burns on any one night. The placement of burning artworks is a complex compromise between curatorial intentions, the use of existing burn scars, and keeping a safe distance from other installations and camping areas. At the same time maintaining a burn perimeter is demanding work, and our Health & Safety crew work tirelessly at it to keep us (and our city) from accidental injury.

Please be aware that although we always try to accommodate your burn schedule preferences, this is not always possible. If that’s the case, we’ll discuss it with you. And then, of course, there’s the weather, which is the ultimate boss of Tankwa Town and doesn’t allow for discussions.

If you have any question, please send an email to [email protected]

Artworks are never just artworks!

We invite you to register your artwork by filling in the project registration form on the Tribe website. This is not a requirement – unless you are intending on burning your artwork and/or want to apply for a Creative Grant – but it is useful! The form is designed to help you work through all the complexities of bringing art to AfrikaBurn.

To register your Artwork (or request funding via a Creative Grant):

  1. Create a Burner Bio profile as a user of our site.
  2. Then log into our site here and create a Collective (which is the project crew).
  3. Once your Collective has been created, you can register a project under that Collective.

If you’ve already got a Bio, and have created your Collective, then you can go ahead and register your Artwork here!

If you miss the deadline for artworks and performance registrations, it doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to bring art to AfrikaBurn – it just means that you won’t have a pre-allocated space and will not be included in the WTF Guide (our printed event guide that participants receive on arrival).

Artworks are stand-alone physical structures built and placed on the Binnekring. They may burn or not.

Registering an Artwork secures that your artwork will have a pre-allocated spot in Tankwa Town. But it does not secure that you will have a pre-allocated camp spot.

Registering an Artwork to your Collective allows you to apply for a Creative Grant – and if your registration happens before March 27 2023, your Artwork can be listed in the WTF Guide (our event guide) and also (possibly) on our event app.

You have a performance piece? Great!

If your Performance involves its own physical structure built and placed on the Binnekring, you will have to register it as an Artwork. Then list the actual performances as a “Binnekring Event” whether it is at an existing artwork, theme camp or mutant vehicle, or anywhere really, wherever whenever you feel it is right.

Got something special in mind that’s not exactly a performance and not exactly a classic artwork but you want to put it out there on the Binnekring? Binnekring Events is the category for the listing of anything on the performance/gift/art juggling, musical, fire dancing freakshow spectrum that should be listed in the WTF Guide event schedule so that people can find it. This is where you list your “Mutant Vehicle Polo game”, your “Bloody Mary extravaganza”, your parade, poetry reading…etc. Tankwa Town is your stage and your audience will find you!

If you want to make sure our community knows what you have in store, and can find it in the dust, register your Binnekring Event – before March 27th 2023 – and your Event can be listed in the WTF Guide and mobile app.

For more info on Performances and Binnekring Events, click here.

A motorised piece of mobile art is called a Mutant Vehicle and they can include… anything, really: Couches. Bars. Jellyfish. Bees. Mice. Bunnies. Zebra. Pacman. As long as the vehicle has been significantly modified, then it can be classed as a Mutant Vehicle. If not, it doesn’t roll in Tankwa Town.

Does your piece move by means of a motor? If it does, please register a Mutant Vehicle.

Need info on Mutant Vehicles? Find that here.

Theme Camps are designed and created with the intention of welcoming, engaging and entertaining other participants. Think of them as little villages within the larger village of Tankwa Town. Is your project a camp that requires a pre-allocated amount of space in a predetermined camping area of Tankwa Town? If so, please register a Theme Camp.

Once your Theme Camp is accepted as such, you will be able to request placement. Do not register a Theme Camp if you you are just looking for placement and are not planning on having a public gift in your space.

Registering a Theme Camp does NOT allow you to apply for any grant.

If your Theme Camp has a specific artistic aspect to it, you can register your Artwork and then apply for a Creative Grant (but features that are integral part of the Theme Camp and cannot stand independently of it can’t be considered for a grant).

For info on Theme Camps, click here.

NOTE: Theme Camp registrations close on February 28 2023.

 

Creative Grants are intended to help enable creative expression in Tankwa Town. If you have an Artwork or Performance project but you need financial assistance to bring it to life, you’re eligible to apply for a Creative Grant (if you’re looking to apply for a Mutant Vehicle Grant, you’ll find that info here).

Please read everything about Creative Grants below before you apply, thanks.

The deadline for Creative Grant applications  is midnight 31 Oct 2022.

Creative Grants provide financial assistance towards enabling creative projects in Tankwa Town. They’re intended to support projects by alleviating some of the financial burden, but all applicants should expect to carry some responsibility for funding their project themselves.

Be aware that our Grant fund policy is to cover material, lighting and transport costs only. Creative Grants will NOT cover labour or a performance fee. Personal expenses are not covered by the Creative Grants (e.g. the cost of your ticket, and getting yourself to Tankwa Town, your food, etc.), but all hard costs associated specifically with the project will be considered (e.g. the extra transport costs associated with bringing your project to Tankwa Town).

AfrikaBurn is a non-profit organisation and relies solely on ticket sales to fund Creative Grants. Every year we get many grant applications requesting funding totalling many times the value of the Creative Grant pot. This means that many projects won’t get funding.

There are many other ways to  garner support for your project. Ask for donations or discounts, hold fundraisers, raffles, get sponsored for doing something silly, form a collective and get everyone to chip in. The more people involved, the more connections you can explore, the more hands there are to help and the more fun it is to gather and create. Be resourceful – recycle, up-cycle, use scrap and waste material. It’s AfrikaBurn – be inventive!

We also ask you not to apply for a grant unless you really need financial support and your project is unlikely to happen without it.

If you’re successful, a percentage of the Grant will be provided upfront, and the balance paid out after the event, provided that the artwork was successfully installed, no trace of it remains on site, and receipts have been submitted.

Please read the full Creative Grant Policy if you’re planning to apply for a Grant.

Applying for a creative grant

Before you fill in your Creative Grant Application, please read all the info available – it will help you to make an application that is more likely to be successful.

The absolute basics:

1. Register your Artwork or Performance 
You need to have a registered project to be able to apply for a Creative Grant. These are separate forms on the website. 

2. Be Thorough
We need a detailed breakdown of the projected expenses. Listing one lump sum, means we will not be able to properly consider your application and this will lower your chances of getting a grant.

3. 3D Model Required For Large-Scale Art
If you’re applying for significant funding for a large-scale sculptural or architectural artwork, we’ll need to see a 3D model of the project. This may be a maquette, a digital image of the maquette, or a 3D digital rendering (e.g. in SketchUp). While a 3D model isn’t a requirement for medium and small-scale projects, we love to have these. They also help you work through some of the thinking.

4. Check Your Email
Be sure to check your email regularly in the weeks after you submit your application. If we have questions for you, we’ll email them through, and we’ll need you to answer them quickly.

Who decides and how?

The Creative Grants assessment process is a very considered and participatory one, which the AfrikaBurn Art Committee puts all efforts in conducting it in a fair and transparent way. Anybody can apply, you don’t need to be a “good-ol’ burner” to apply for a Grant. Applications are assessed anonymously, based on the merit of the proposal, and according to a set of predefined criteria.

The identity of the applicants only comes to play at an advanced stage of the assessment. An history of red MOOP Map score, under-delivery, unfulfilled contractual clauses, etc., will affect the outcome of the application.

Interested in finding out how we assess Creative Grants? Read all about it below.

HOW​ ​DO WE​ ​ASSESS​ ​CREATIVE​ ​GRANT​ ​APPLICATIONS​?

Applications are assessed on their individual merit anonymously at first, and then also against the other submissions with a simple scoring system.

  1. Applications are presented anonymously – exactly as the applicants wrote them up so each project can be assessed purely on the strength of the idea and the thoroughness of the proposal.
  2. Fellow grant applicants and members of the AfrikaBurn Art Committee review all of the applications which are displayed gallery-style at our HQ in Cape Town, as well as in Johannesburg, at a suitable venue as arranged by an ArtCom member.

Each person allocates points to each project using the Assessment Sheet. We allow one assessment per project, so if grant applicants have more than one representative, they do one assessment sheet together. There are lots of things to consider when assessing grant projects. We use four themes for this purpose: Creative Merit, Catalytic Potential, Legacy and Idealism and Chances of Success. These are explained in detail below:

It’s important to remember that art at AfrikaBurn is not art in the classic sense, rather these projects are solidified representations of communal effort, radical expression and all the other good things. It’s not just about what they look like, it’s also about what they do.

All Creative Grant applicants, including previous year’s grant applicants, and ArtCom, are involved in this part of the vetting process. The scores are tallied at the end of the assessment period and then ArtCom moves to step 4 of the process.

1.​ CREATIVE​ ​MERIT ​

Under this theme we consider whether the proposal is plainly funny, clever, beautiful, whimsical, interactive, new to Tankwa Town.

● Do I/we like it?
● Is it innovative?
● Experimental?
● Does it challenge barriers?
● Does it have a statement?
● Does it feel culturally significant?

2. CATALYTIC​ ​POTENTIAL

Under this theme we consider whether the proposal has considered its interaction and potential to engage audiences interactively at Tankwa Town.

● What impact will it have on the AfrikaBurn gathering and the cultural landscape (beyond AB) in general?
● What level of engagement/ interactivity does it invite?
● Is there a low barrier to participation?…i.e. parades, easy access for interaction and participation? Does it invite participation?

3.​ LEGACY​ ​&​ ​IDEALISM

Under this theme we consider whether the proposal shows a wider reach beyond the lifespan of the actual event in Tankwa Town.

● Will the project create new opportunities in its making or its inventing?
● Does it reach out?
● Is there a broader social contribution?
● Does the project leave anything behind? Infrastructure? Skills development?
● Can it be repurposed?
● Will it have a life after Tankwa Town?
● Will it generate new genres, audiences, debate?
● Does the project use waste materials to make the work?
● Is the method of putting it together inclusive and experimental?

4. CHANCES OF SUCCESS

At this stage the names of the applicants is revealed.

Under this theme we consider how likely the team is to successfully build what they have proposed. Previous successful track records at AfrikaBurn and other projects are considered. We look at the diversity of skills present in the team and if these align with the proposal, for example an architect, engineer, or set builder is likely to know how to construct large works.

● Likelihood of delivery/success?
● Are the skills necessary to make the project happen available?
● Does the timeline seem realistic?
● Is there sufficient organisational capacity?
● What is the delivery track record at AfrikaBurn and other events?
● Is it worth the risk to be able to develop new Collectives?
● Are there references and do they check out?

3) These scores are combined with the previous phase’s score, and collated, giving a final numeric score. (These scores serve as a guideline, and they’re not an absolute decisive factor. The grant assessment process takes all things into consideration.)

4) ArtCom begins the task of discussing all the projects in depth, and making a final list of projects. Detailed notes are made and fed back to projects via email.

5) The cost breakdowns of the shortlisted projects are assessed rigorously, and funds are provisionally allocated. At this point it may become necessary to reduce the number of projects that get an award, or to reduce the amount awarded to each project.

6) Once the grant awards have been determined, all applicants are contacted with the results of their application and any feedback there may be from the members of the Art Committee. ArtCom approaches unsuccessful applicants to see how AB can still enable the project.

7) At this stage any persons (including ArtCom members) that have applied for a Creative Grant are excluded from the allocation of funds phase.

The Creative Grant Team is made up of members of ArtCom:

Chris Denovan (Artist)
Dale Calder (Arts Instigator)
Isa Marques (Member, Art Administrator, Arteria Coordinator, and Artist)
Lorraine Tanner (Member, Director, Outreach and Creative Development Support)
Monique Schiess (Co-Founder, Member, Creative Director, Liaison, Burning Man Regional Contact, and Artist)
Nicci Bailey (Artist)
Rian Brand (Member and Artist)
Samantha Bendzulla (Member and Managing Director)

Other Members of the Art Committee (besides the Creative Grant Team) are:

Brad Baard (Member and Artist)
Devin Isaacs (Structural Safety Lead and artist)
Ilse Erasmus (Artist)
Kim Goodwin (Artist)
Lindsay Cessford (Artist, and Project Manager)
Nix Davies (Artist)
Paul Grose (Member, ex DPW Lead and Arts Handyman)
Robert Weinek (Founder Member and Director, DMV and Outreach Lead)
Roger van Wyk (Member and Curator)
Shannon Smith (Artist, Operations and Volunteer Coordinator)
Sindy Dondolo (Performance and Chillaz Coordinator)
Walter Bohmer (Artist)

AfrikaBurn (AB) Creative Grants are intended to provide financial assistance towards enabling creative projects in Tankwa Town, to execute the creative intention of AfrikaBurn.

The AB Art Committee is a sub-committee of the AfrikaBurn Creative Projects and is accountable to it both for process (as set out in this policy and guidelines document) and for the expenditure of the Creative Grant fund. A minimum of two AB Members and one Director will sit on this committee in any given year.

The annual (AB) Creative Grant Fund is determined by the Members of AfrikaBurn, based primarily on funds available, and in line with the strategic approach to the development intentions of AfrikaBurn Creative Projects as decided or agreed upon in the annual Bosberaad or any other special members meeting. The funds are generated by the income from ticket sales from the AfrikaBurn event (although, at certain times there may be additional funds coming in from other sources – for example, external funding bodies and donations received).

The term ‘Artwork’ can be interpreted to include art, sculpture, performance, music, and mutant vehicles or art cars.

The Art Committee is mandated to award the Creative Grant Fund at their discretion utilizing the assessment methods and criteria detailed below.

The Board shall be advised of the pieces selected and the funding allocated, but approval by the BoD is not a requirement.

The Art Committee is mandated to spend a minimum towards the generation of artwork per year.

The proposed minimum amount is set at the preceding year’s grant pot amount (2018 : R800 000.00)

This minimum may change, at the discretion of the Board, depending on funds available, but it may not be reduced.

The Directors and/or Members may from time to time allocate more funds to the Creative Grant, depending on ticket sales.

The Art Committee may then award grants to an amount equaling the higher value offered, but they are not obligated to do so.

The Art Committee must award grants to the value of the set minimum.

This is at the discretion of the Art Committee, unless specifically advised by the Members. If such a situation arises, this must be done considering timing of the grant window period.

AB Creative Grants will fund only materials for the creation of art pieces and, where applicable, fuel to transport it to and from the site where the event takes place.

Labour will not be funded, and no artists’ fee will be paid.
We encourage making art out of waste, and making use of recycled material, reusable material, environmentally friendly and sustainable materials.

The AfrikaBurn Art Committee may, at their discretion, choose to award a Grant in full or to award a Partial Grant.

The AB Art Committee will ensure that proper financial reporting is followed in terms of the allocation process and the disbursement of grant money. This shall take the form of a written contract signed with each Artist and the AfrikaBurn organisation, and shall include the submission of all relevant receipts (to at least the value of the grant) to ensure financial compliance.

CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PAYMENTS OF GRANTS

In the event of another entity approving a grant that will result in the project receiving more than 100% funding, AB will reduce its funding so that the total funded amount is 100% of the relevant project costs.

  • Where an applicant has an established and impeccable track record all or most of
    the funds may be awarded upfront.
  • For new applicants a percentage of the grant will be awarded upfront and the balance paid across after successful installation, thorough clear up, and full recon of grant expenditure (including original receipts on demand).
    The general percentage ratio to be applied is 70 / 30 (upfront/after).
    The AB Art Committee may increase or reduce the initial payment percentage at their discretion.
  • For successful applicants with a poor track record (including failure to properly remove the artwork from the site) the AB Art Committee can set the payment parameters at their discretion and may impose other requirements (e.g construction schedule).

All Creative Grant monies paid out to successful applicants are fully and immediately refundable if the applicant fails to complete and install the artwork.

Where this failure occurs due to circumstances beyond the control of the Artist, the AB Art Committee shall, at their discretion, determine the amount refundable (if any) and the date of payment of the refund.

The AB Art Committee may, at their discretion, reduce the final payment where the Artist has failed to completely remove the artwork from the site.

All Grants will be paid out through EFT transfers only.

It is the responsibility of the Artist to pay any taxes that may be owing on money awarded as a grant.

Artists awarded grants will need to sign a Contract – the Art / Theme Camp / Mutant Vehicle / Performance Registration forms part of this contract, along with a standard legal document drafted by a lawyer and approved by all on ArtCom.

Our Clan sculpture is a physical representation of the spirit of AfrikaBurn: it consists of a torso with many heads and many legs and represents our community, as one. Find out more about the history of the Clan here.

Each year, the Clan is our central effigy and is built by members of our community – and you could possibly build the Clan, as anyone’s able to submit a proposal to design or build the Clan. If you’re interested please read the Clan Guidelines, then draft your Clan proposal and send it to [email protected]

Don’t panic if it doesn’t look perfect, just like you’re envisioning your piece. It’s only a proposal and a work in progress.

The Temple has developed as a part of AfrikaBurn’s physical and emotional landscape as a space of contemplation and reflection. The temple is intended as an area of sanctuary, a site of calm on the edge of the chaos and cacophony of Tankwa Town. A space to spend time with one’s own thoughts, reflect on one’s life, the lives of others, those recently passed, ancestors.

Art: Temple of Stars | Photo: Shandor Hrabar

The Temple should inspire us and stimulate our spiritual awareness of nature and cosmos. While the structure may be a thing of beauty its significance is in its transience. It is a place of letting go, a place of release. It’s the pinnacle of our celebration of immediacy and catharsis.

‘The Offering’ by Simon Max Bannister and crew, 2013 (photo: Jonx Pillemer)

HISTORY of TEMPLES at AFRIKABURN

2007 – [no title] (Brad Baard & Peter Hayes)
2008 – [No temple]
2009 – ‘The Temporal’ (Monique Schiess & Brad Baard)
2010 – [Same from 2009]
2011 – Pyramid temple structure (Adriaan Wessels)
2012 – ‘Solace’ (Simon Bannister and crew)
2013 – ‘Compression’ (Simon Bannister and crew)
2014 – ‘The Offering’ (Simon Bannister and crew)
2015 – ‘Metamorphosis’ (Verity Maud and crew)
2016 – ‘Awakening’ (Verity Maud and crew)
– ‘Temple of |Xam’ (Kim Goodwin and The Dandylions)
2017 – ‘Temple of Gratitude’ (Walter Böhmer and crew)
2018 – ‘Oasis’ (Anushka Kempken and crew)
2019 – ‘Temple of Stars’ (Walter Böhmer & The Starlights)

In year one (2007) a Temple was built by Brad Baard and Peter Hayes. That year our Clan was not completed on time for a burn on the Saturday night and Brad and Peter very graciously let us burn it on the Saturday in lieu of having a Clan burn on that night.

Photo: Shen Tian

In 2009, Brad and Monique Schiess built ‘The Temporal’ (the theme that year being ‘Time’) but the structure wasn’t called ‘the temple’, though its stated intention was to be a quiet and reflective space. It was built in what was ‘the outskirts’ of the event at that stage.

‘The Temporal’ (with aeolian harp strings), 2009 (photo: Graham Abbott)

In 2011 Adriaan Wessels built his pyramid Temple structure. A discussion was then had, initially among ArtCom members and then across the broader AfrikaBurn team and organisation, about whether to have a solicited temple space. It was decided at the time that we would not do a callout or solicit a temple space (motivated primarily by the fact that we didn’t just want to cut and paste from Burning Man), but if there was one that rose up in the community then AfrikaBurn would support it.

Pyramid temple, 2011 (photo: Jonx Pillemer)

In 2012 Simon Bannister entered the fray with ‘Solace’ and followed it up with ‘Compression’ and ‘The Offering’ in 2013 and 2014.

‘Compression’ temple (photo: Lisa Van Deventer)

He initially wanted to name the  structures ‘The Temple of….’ (Solace, Compression and The Offering) but was dissuaded, though he did go on to call the collective ‘The Temple Crew.’

‘The Offering’, 2014 (photo: Jonx Pillemer)

In 2015 Verity Maud came along and ArtCom experimented with placing the Temple in the middle of the Binnekring for a couple of different reasons:

  1. That that was the quieter space at the time. The Loud Zone has moved to the far reaches, so to have the Temple far out would mean that it was in the Loud Zone.
  2. That with Verity leading up activating the space very intentionally it would evolve and advance the use of and understanding of the Temple space at AfrikaBurn
‘Temple of Metamorphosis’ (photo: Rob Erasmus)
Photo: Jonx Pillemer

In 2017 Walter Böhmer and his crew created the ‘Temple of Gratitude’, which also incorporated the intentionality of having a space for reflection and letting go. The Temple was opened on Monday morning with a ceremony toward this purpose.

‘Temple of Gratitude’ (photo: Sean Furlong)

Also in 2017, artist Kim Goodwin (and his crew The Dandylions) built Temple |Xam as a dedication to the |Xam, who were among the First Peoples of South Africa and inhabited the Tankwa Karoo for many thousands of years. Though this structure was not created as ‘the Temple’ for AfrikaBurn, it did come to represent a space that carried much the same meaning for many participants at our main annual event. The structure stood on site from 2017 until 2019, when it was burned on the Wednesday of event week in a silent burn.

‘Temple |Xam’, 2017, by Kim Goodwin and The Dandylions (photo: Jonx Pillemer)

In 2018 year Anushka Kempken and crew created ‘Oasis’. The last four Temples were projects whose crews and workshops were located in Gauteng, which has been awesome – but this was also largely the reason for the Temple burn taking place on the Saturday of the event.

‘Oasis’ (photo: Colleen Thiel)

In 2019, Walter Böhmer and The Starlights created the ‘Temple of Stars’. This year the temple burn was moved to Sunday at the artist’s request in order to “enable a space for catharsis “. The centre structure was also encircled with a perimeter (fence) for the first time, which worked well to hold the space.

‘Temple of Stars’ (with crew) – Photo: Cathy Cronje

And finally, most recently in 2022 the Gaia’s Song Temple shone, and sung for the new land, simultaniously closing and opening a new chapter on the community’s journey. Gaia’s song was created by Carmel Ives and her Temple Crew – inititally for 2020 and through to 2022. This same temple celebrated HomeBurn with us in 2020.

Further reading:

The Temple burn is an example of something that became an unintentionally ritualised icon because our energy made it so.

AfrikaBurn

Simon Bannister – reflections on building ‘The Offering’
Shani Judes – ‘Temple Tale’

Burning Man

Initiations and Salutations
Building The Temple

Practice Communal Effort and make it happen!

Whether you are planning on bringing your very own creative project, or not, if art is your thing and you want to get involved in creative collaboration, this is for you. 

Do you love the Tankwa art scene and want to get involved with all of it at the same time? – You can! 
Read about the different ways you can enable art in Tankwa Town and support the artists in their creative endeavors, below.

Building art in Tankwa is an extraordinary experience and a great undertaking. Possibly one of the most gratifying things that can happen to you at AfrikaBurn is working yourself really hard on building something beautiful.

Do you think you could and would like to help make it happen?

Love those epic artworks that make the Tankwa Town so inspiring and interactive? As it happens, those artworks and their artists always need help and working yourself really hard is possibly the most gratifying part of AfrikaBurn.

Keen to join a team and help where you can when projects are on the go? Let us know what your skills and availability are, and fill out the form below, and you too can add to the creative marvels that make Tankwa Town so spectacular!

Phone number will only be shared with matching artworks to contact you directly.
Your email address will only be shared with matching artworks to contact you directly.
//
Please provide City, Suburb and Country (if not based in South Africa).
This a rough indication of when you are available during the week or weekend.
Please indicate if you are available at any other times that you can assist artworks, not mentioned above.
What you would like and what can you contribute to artwork. Your set of skills or skills that you want to learn, by being part of the artworks at Afrika Burn.
Please let us know of any other skills and contribution, not listed above, that you can provide or would like to learn. Please keep it short and sweet.
Do you have any resources that you are willing to provide towards artwork in any form. Please keep it short and sweet.
What type of transport do you have that can assist with the artwork before, to Tankwa, during and after the event.
Please indicate if you have any thing else that we might have missed and what you want to contribute. Please no life stories or CV’s.


Thank you, AfrikaBurn could not happen without you!

LIMITATION OF AFRIKABURN’S LIABILITY

By completing and submitting this form, and/or buying a ticket to the event, you and/or your dependants, agents or their assignees, hereby indemnify AfrikaBurn and any of its members, employees, representatives, assignees and/or agents against any claim of whatsoever nature, howsoever arising including, without limitation, all and any claim/s for damages or loss of whatever nature, whether arising from negligence, gross negligence or any other cause, suffered by any person in connection with their attendance and/or participation at AfrikaBurn, in any action, not limited to action/s for damages or loss which might be instituted against them. You, your heirs, dependants, agents, executors or their assignees hereby irrevocably waive any claims which they may have against AfrikaBurn, any of its members, employees, representatives, assignees and/or agents for any form of claim for compensation, including but without limitation, claim/s for damages which they may suffer due to injury and/or loss of any nature whatsoever, including that emanating from negligence, gross negligence and/or wilful default, which includes accidents caused by your own actions; You hereby acknowledge that you will be responsible for any damage that may occur to any person or property as a result of your participation at AfrikaBurn.

Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. 

Are you a performer looking for a space to do your thing? Check out the projects that are looking for performers. Do you want to get involved, but you’re not sure how? See what the creatives crews are asking for.

Visit our Community Directory

Art: Doune Cocoon
Image credit: Patrick Barylla

Binnekring Events & Performances

All the world’s your stage in Tankwa Town, and it’s filled with fellow performers. There is no audience, everyone’s part of the show! Stand up on a soapbox, start a conga snake, recite poetry, break into song, or perform random acts of ballroom dancing – step into the middle of nowhere and give it your best shot, break a leg, knock ’em dead!

Image credit: Patrick Barylla

REgister a performance

Punk band? One man band? Riel dans groep? Skiffle player? 18-piece jazz troupe? Orchestra? Interpretive dancer? Tuvan throat singer? Maskandi? Beat poet? DJ? Great.

Just one thing: as everything in Tankwa Town is created by its citizens (that’s you), we (as AfrikaBurn) don’t book artists, or DJ’s – and all performers are all on the same level in the dust. It really makes no difference if you play in Bangkok, Berlin, Brooklyn or Bloemfontein, or how many fans you have on Soundcloud.

Why? Because AfrikaBurn isn’t a music festival. And because it’s not a music festival.

NO LINEUPS FOR OUR EVENT ARE EVER PUBLISHED.

Need a stage or space to your thing? You’ll need to hook up with a camp that has what you’re after – or create it yourself. Many theme camps create a collaborative space open for any performer to use, and they may provide some equipment.

To get in touch with crews that are looking for performers, or even DJ’s, log into our website first, then check out our Join A Project page. Many of the registered Theme Camp, Artwork and Mutant Vehicle projects list the talent and skills they’re looking for on that page, which also provides a contact detail.

And, if you’d prefer to create & host your own performance:
– firstly, well done (that’s exactly the spirit of our event)
– second, log into our site and then use the Create Collective option (in your left hand sidebar) to register your crew – then go ahead and use the ‘Register a Binnekring Event’ option to have your planned event registered (and listed in our event guide).

Things to consider:

There are no headline acts at our event, and there’s no promotion of any artists billed to perform. For that matter, performers aren’t paid to work their magic on a crowd – they, like everyone else at the event, provide their art and skills as a gift to the community.

There is no power supply provided at AfrikaBurn. If you’re going to need power for your performance, you’ll need to sort that out yourself. A little power sharing goes a long way. Power for the people? Nope: radical self reliance for the people!

There’s also no main stage and side stages – but there are plenty of spaces to perform. And plenty of ways to do it. Get organised and bring your own stage and equipment, do something spontaneous and impromptu somewhere that just feels right, or find a Theme Camp, artwork or Mutant Vehicle to perform at.

Registering your Binnekring Event does not grant you a space to perform, nor to camp. It also doesn’t entitle you to drive on site, to an ice card, to a ticket, nor to a Work Access Pass to get on site early. Registering your Binnekring Event gives you the pleasure of introducing your event to the citizens of Tankwa Town (and, in some cases, to apply for a Creative Grant).

Image: Alastair Mclachlan

If you have an orchestra, a parade, a roaming show, etc – You can apply for a Creative Grant, that would help cover some logistical challenges and make it possible for your group to perform in Tankwa Town.

Register Your Binnekring Event!

Performance: Swarm Theory 3.0
Image credit: Alastair Mclachlan