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The Grow Box Project


The endowment fund African Artists for Development (AAD) was created in 2009 by French art collectors Matthias and Gervanne Leridon in response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As a development laboratory AAD facilitates highly progressive partnerships between artistic creation and sustainable development projects. So successful has this initiative been, that ever since 2013, AAD has been an advisory member of the Economic and Social Affairs council of the UN. Their development aims are driven equally by social development and the development of contemporary art culture.


The GrowBox incubator programme was founded when, in 2016, the Leridons encountered Renshia Manuel, a resident of Hanover Park township near Cape Town, amidst a water crisis and resulting food insecurity in her community. Ms Manuel had innovated by designing a wooden garden box on wheels, in which she could sprout seedlings and grow food by day and then for security wheel her precious boxed food garden indoors at night.


AAD invited ten foremost contemporary artists from a range of African countries to turn this prototype Grow Box into an artwork that would both celebrate Ms Manuel's initiative and raise awareness of food security issues. An exhibition held at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in February 2019 celebrated our Grow Box works.


My Grow Box celebrates seeds as ideas and words and is rooted in my life long interest in plants and their taxonomy, triggered by my interest in language generally. It celebrates the familiar, everyday names of a number of plants which run in large letters along the outside of the box. Reminiscent of the Biblical parable of the sower sowing seed, I decided to put some sandy, rocky text on this piece, because in the myth the seeds that the sower sows are really ideas and words that he speaks.The box contains stones (little rocks) and is surrounded by large paper rocks painted white, in resonance with the idea of seeds being ideas written on paper.


*Group Team Photo: Image Caption

From left to right:

Photographed at the opening of the Growbox Art Project at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town: Unknown, participating artist Dominique Zinkpe from Benin, name unknown, Zeitz MOCAA Curator Azubuike Nwagbogu, Matthias Leridon, Co Chair of African Artists for Development, Jonathan Bloch, Board of Trustees, Zeitz-Mocaa, participating artists Willie Bester, South Africa, Goncalo Mabunda, Mocambique and Willem Boshoff, South Africa

Grow Box

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