SANTA CRUZ — The colorful folk art of the San Bushman, an indigenous tribe in Botswana, is the focus of an exhibition and auction taking place Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St. in Santa Cruz.
The event is the brainchild of a Peace Corps volunteer, Peggy Flynn, who returned home to Santa Cruz last December after spending three years Botswana. On a visit to D’Kar, she came across an art collective and was awestruck.
“They were just remarkable,” Flynn said of the San Bushman artists, who are descendants of ancient hunter-gatherer people of southern Africa. “These people live in a remote area and have little in the way of basic amenities. Yet there they were making some of the most beautiful art I’ve ever seen.”
Flynn leaned on local friends and supporters to bring the San Bushman and their unique folk art to Santa Cruz to exhibit and sell. Proceeds will support health education workshops for San youth, who suffer from the highest teen pregnancy and school drop-out rates in the country; for art supplies; and for basic support of the San artists and their families. Various workshops will provide skills and build capacity for dealing with modern day challenges, while learning art from San elders.
Live and silent auctions will feature paintings, prints and tapestries that depict the San’s history and culture as their ancestors had on rock paintings 70,000 years ago. Three of the San Bushman are traveling by plane for the very first time to attend the event.
A Meet-the-Artists reception featuring appetizers, wine and beer will kick things off. Local community leader Martina O’Sullivan will emcee and former Watsonville Police Chief Terri Medina will be auctioneer. A chance to win a six-day safari for two in the Okavango Delta of Botswana will also be auctioned.
Event tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the door or from Eventbrite at www.tinyurl.com/artsaveslives.
Donations are also accepted from their GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/savesanbushmanart-culture.