Recognising the value of an arts education, and cognisant of the dire crisis in arts education in South Africa, where only 5% of schools provide art as a school leaving subject, the Trust uses its experience, networks and resources to play a strategic role. Art educational work is therefore woven through all the Trust’s activities.

The Arts & Ubuntu Travelling Arts Institute (2015) consolidates and develops the Trust’s varied art educational activities into an overarching educational programme which consists of:

  1. Exhibitions and associated outreach activities such as workshops and panel discussions
  2. The development of an annual portfolio school and stand-alone introduction to art toolkit called  the Ernest Mancoba Art Education Project (EMAEP)
  3. Continuous research and publication (in film, book, monograph or poster form) of new knowledge on the neglected tradition in the arts

The Ernest Mancoba Art Education Project (EMAEP), is a planned annual portfolio school,  with associated development of a stand-alone introduction to art toolkit. It is central to The Arts and Ubuntu Travelling Arts Institute. It offers a unique and effective approach to filling gaps in arts education in peri-urban and rural areas. Aspirant artists, drawn from the 95% of school-leavers who have no means to produce a portfolio, are the direct beneficiaries. 50% of the participants will be female. They will be able to attend a short residential school or work through a stand-alone guide/kit with regular cyber based teaching support.

The Portfolio School is envisaged as an intensive, 3 week long, annual residential School in Mancoba’s name, with academically accredited programmes for 30 aspirant artists (50% will be women) from around the country. 25 will produce portfolios and 5 of the participants will be aspirant arts writers.

The Introduction to Art Toolkit is envisaged as a pack which will be prepared during the first two years of the School’s existence. Once complete the Kit will be used in a stand-alone way or together with cyber instruction provided by the Trust at community art centres.  The kit will contain audio-visual guides to self study by artists so that they can independently work through the exercises set and produce a portfolio at the end of it.  Suggested materials will range from found materials to purchased oils and canvasses so that all mediums are known to artists but the most appropriate and cost effective can be chosen by each artist.

Beneficiaries will be reached in all 9 provinces of South Africa in peri-urban and rural areas, which are under serviced in terms of arts resources. Traditionally the Trust has supported this demographic through its programmes and activities. These are the target groups to whom the Trust intends to continue to provide services.

Ernest Mancoba’s example

Mancoba’s life, work and philosophy serve as an excellent example for young South African art students. His work provides a platform to explore painting and sculpture, figurative and abstract art. It intersects with the sweep of twentieth century art internationally at the same time as it has very specific South African references.  Mancoba blends western and African aesthetics in innovative and holistic ways.

Mancoba’s work is part of the school Visual Arts curriculum but teachers and artists alike lament the lack of resources available to support the teaching of the Arts and Culture and Visual Arts curriculum.

About Ernest Mancoba »

The trust’s achievements in the field

The principles and aesthetics of Ernest Mancoba’s life and work guide the approach to designing the Ernest Mancoba Art Education Project (EMAEP), which arises from previous successful projects (the Ernest Mancoba Education Poster Project (EMEPP)and the training conducted in the South African Arts Past and Present Project (SAAPPP)) and also responds to the declared needs and interests of the participants.

The (EMEPP) reached 17 centres in peri-urban and rural areas in 9 provinces.  More than 2000 artists, students and arts and culture teachers participated. Their detailed evaluations of the 4 day EMEPP art education workshops provide a lively account of the success of the programme and inform the deliverables of the EMAEP.

The Art Education Project (EMAEP) speaks directly to the HSRC recommendations in the 2010 report to the Department of Arts and Culture.  At the same time the Trust’s ongoing research into indigenous knowledge systems in the arts enhances the possibilities of developing arts and sciences links – see Why Study Art for more information on this theme.