Edward Selematsela phoned the Watercolour Society about children
in a rehabilitated street children’s shelter run by Rhema
Church.He wanted help to teach these children art.
Robinson and Ulrich Schwanecke volunteered, and from these
small beginnings, Dulcie Robinson & Edward Selematsela’s
Little Artist Programme took shape.
Ulrich, Edward and other volunteers (including Sam Maduna,
Thurza Stott, Lazarus Ramotseng and others) saw how much creativity
and the binding comradeship of the group helped the children.
and some showed great promise as artists. The project
grew as more children enrolled – children from all other walks
of life, but mostly orphans and disadvantaged children who
took to art like ducks to water, revelling in the release
and creativity it allowed them.
of the Little Artists is a long one, with many trials over
the years. Sadly, Ulrich died in a motor accident in
2007. Dulcie, seeing the creativity and potential
in these wonderful children, became committed to them, determined
to show them a kinder side of life, through art.
led by Dulcie, continued to teach and encourage the children.
All this was funded both personally by the Robinsons and from
a few other small donations, as well as donations from Winsor
& Newton and other art suppliers such as Faber Castell.
and assisted by her very supportive and competent husband
Peter, Dulcie and the team battled from year to year to find
permanent premises. Each new venue seemed more desperate
than the last.
travel to dangerous city centre areas, trudge up long flights
of stairs with all the art materials and then pack up again
afterwards. Rosemary Pate aka Mama Cake, remembers how
scary and exhausting it sometimes seemed, but she remembers
too the joy at what they achieved, the love they felt for
the children, and the extreme pleasure taken by the children
in everything they did. It took them a long time to
win the children’s’ trust, but win it they did.
ranged from a double garage in Rhema Bertrams to the Hillbrow
Recreational Hall to a room at the Johannesburg Art Gallery,
the WSSA, led by Dulcie, organized a sponsorship from Goldfields.
This was lost in 2004 but Deutsche Bank came to the rescue
and became the main sponsor. Florida Framing framed
the art at huge discounts once the exhibitions started.
2001 the children chose their name themselves: “The Little
art improved, small exhibitions were organized at the Robinson
home and at Cinema Nouveau. Deutsche Bank organized
two exhibitions. The money earned from any sales went
to the children. Peter and Dulcie arranged for individual
savings accounts to be set up for them. Managing this
became quite a task.
years later Barbara Moore organized for Dulcie to connect
with Webber Wentzel Attorneys to register the Little Artists
in their annual art competition, “Young Artist of the Year”.
This was a huge success, with significant prizes being won
by some Little Artists.
Christmas parties are held at the Robinson home, with the
children having great fun playing, swimming in the pool, and
receiving gifts from Santa.
Deutsche Bank sponsored premises at the Barnato High School
in Berea. This was a huge breakthrough. Deutsche
Bank’s sponsorship allowed for permanent use of their very
own premises! They put up shelves, and made other equipment
to suit their needs and had a home at last.
and Dulcie were able to get the Little Artists registered
as a Section 21 NGO
Summer Storm by Dulcie Robinson
a very experienced art teacher, nurtured Edward and Sam to
take over once she was diagnosed with cancer toward the end
passed away on 27th April 2010. Her loss
was mourned by all her Little Aritsts, past and present, and
by her many friends throughout the art world and the Watercolour
Society, to which she had given great service and which had
in gratitude bestowed upon her Honorary Life Membership.
We all extend our sympathy and love to Peter and the Robinson
family. As Mama Cake said in her tribute in the WSSA
Aquarelle, “Dulcie now you know all the secrets of art….and
when I see a glorious sunset, I shall know you had a hand
in it somewhere”.
Robinson, assisted by Dave Pate and artist Rosemary Pate,
continues with the administration and financial management
of the Little Artists. Edward Selematsela continues
to lead teaching the classes.
has arranged the “Dulcie Robinson Little Artists Exhibition”
to take place in September 2010 at the Watercolour Society
of SA’s Manor Gallery in Fourways. Peter will personally
fund the costs of the exhibition, with some assistance from
the WSSA to reduce costs.
YOU wish to become involved with assisting in teaching or
administering the Little Artists, please do contact us at
the WSSA telephone 011 465-7934 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
little bit of help is much appreciated.