Imbali Visual Literacy

Africa, South Africa, Johannesburg
Art discipline: Beeldende kunst
Participated in ICAF in: 2011

The Imbali Visual Literacy Project was founded in 1988 to address the inequities in creative education in schools during the time of apartheid. Now, in these post-apartheid years, they have adapted their project to address another crucial issue facing South Africa: the crisis of poverty and unemployment. The project trains around 45 students per year in full-time programs in which creative potential can be developed toward productive and constructive careers in craft and design. Students taking part in the three-year foundation program complete courses in Crafts techniques; Craft production; Craft Enterprise and Craft Business skills; Museum education; Street children education, art teaching methodology, counselling skills, literacy and numeracy. Imbali also works with diverse communities in a range of shorter-term product-development and skills-development projects. Previously they have worked in Mpumalanga with woodcarvers and beadworkers, in juvenile detention centres in Mogale district, in Diepsloot and in Joburg's inner city with unemployed women and men, and full-time in Kagiso township west of Johannesburg for the past nine years.

The two Imbali teachers invited to participate in the International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam in 2011 are both accomplished artists and facilitators dedicated to sharing their skills. Connie Sedumedi has been training students in craft and design for over thirty-five years. She started her career in the ‘70s at the Open School in Johannesburg, one of the few institutions where black students could receive training in art education. Subsequently she moved to African Cripple Care where she taught weaving and other craft in the 1980s, followed by a sojourn teaching at the Africa Cultural Centre teaching township school groups in visual arts until 2001. Connie was then employed by the Nelson Mandela Children's Foundation where she travelled all over country, training young people in textile painting In 2002 she joined Imbali as a full-time teacher, where she specializes in teaching batik, weaving, sewing and textile design.

Lungani Mogale began as a student at Imbali, where he completed the three-year foundation course in art and visual literacy with a focus on ceramics and textile design. He then went on to complete a Crafts Production and Crafts Enterprise Learnership for two years. Lugani's great skill for textile design was acknowledged when he won a design award in 2009 for his range of textiles inspired by Johannesburg cityscapes. In 2007 Lungani completed an apprenticeship in facilitation at Imbali, and subsequently was appointed as a full-time teacher in silk-screening. He has developed several original ranges of textiles which he sells through the Imbali shop at Museum Africa.