Imbali Artbook

The Imbali Artbooks, ‘Adventuring Into Art’ come as an eight-volume boxed set, and serve as a valuable art-teaching resource. They contain many carefully structured and supported artmaking activities, along with information about individual artists from South Africa and further afield. The books provide teachers and students with an accessible, but not simplistic, approach to looking at art and its role and meaning in our everyday lives. They also guide teachers and students through different ways of interpreting, understanding and discussing the work of many dozens of South African artists. A supportive teachers’ guide is included in the set.

These eight books are the culmination of three decades of Imbali’s creative arts teacher and student workshops, as well as extensive research on South African, African and world art. They span a wide range of themes and topics, beginning with an introduction to the elements of art and abstraction, “Getting Started”, then moving on to “Faces”, “Bodies”, “Things”, “Places”, “Warzones” and finally “Inner Worlds”. Moving from the known to the unknown and back again, we have tried to provide teachers, students and art lovers with engaging and relevant content, with a particular focus on South African art, while also encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and the creation of wonderful, innovative and expressive artworks.

Imbali believes strongly that:

  • All children should have access to creative education in order to fully develop their creativity, thinking skills, capacity for innovation and healthy self-expression, along with their potential to grow into independent and resourceful adults.
  • The serious historical and current imbalances in arts education need to be addressed.
  • The best way to address these imbalances is through training and the provision of appropriate materials.
  • The standard and practice of art teaching in under-resourced schools needs to be elevated.

The Imbali Artbooks:

  • Develop creative thinking, innovation, critical analysis, assessment and problem-solving skills.
  • Provide teachers with the necessary support to teach visual literacy.
  • Provide information and support for teaching artmaking skills and techniques.
  • Grow awareness and appreciation of South African and African arts and culture heritage.
  • Equip teachers and students with skills with which to observe, question, challenge and contribute to the values and directions of our communities.
  • Contribute to the development of self-expression, self-confidence and a sense of individual identity.

Our aim is to distribute the books, at no cost, to under-resourced rural and township schools in all nine provinces of South Africa. We also provide a teachers’ workshop introducing them to the book and how to work with it in the classroom.

Endorsements of Imbali Artbooks

Adventuring into Art is a guide to teaching art for South African teachers. The information is divided into themes, which gather related ideas, springboards, which provide historical and artistic context in short essays, activities which are practical classroom guides and artists which features relevant art and biographies.
Abstraction; the visual language of art; an art vocabulary; line and its expressive possibilities; lines and sound; lines and movement; using different media to create expressive lines; colour; colour theory; colour-mixing and using paint.
Portraiture in South Africa; making a self-portrait; identity – photographing ourselves; self-portraits in charcoal; the traditions of masks in Africa: masks and power; making a “power mask” and performance.
Expression through the body, artists’ depictions of the body in action; sculpture and the human figure; traditional child figures in South African art; figure drawing; carving; assemblage; construction; gender prejudice; feminist artists; self-image and body mapping.
The lives of objects and their meanings; objects of ritual, the still life in South African art; drawing and painting still lifes; keeping a sketchbook; self-portrait in objects; texture in art; rubbings; Dada and objét trouvé; museums; a miniature museum; creating sculptures in papier maché; Pop Art; advertising and consumerism.
Artists and the environment; landscape painting and drawing in South African art; other kinds of “landscapes”; San conceptions of the land; depictions of the land and its colonial and other histories; drawing and painting outdoors; perspective; land art and site specific art; environmental awareness through performance and installation.
Art and war; poetry about war; art under Apartheid, art and resistance; documentary photography; curating your own exhibition; poster art in South Africa; designing and making posters, silk-screening; stencilling; graffiti and mural art.
Early symbolic object-making; San Rock art in South Africa; some cultural traditions and rituals; art and the missionary influence in South Africa; ritual objects; Jackson Hlungwane’s “New Jerusalem”; symbolism and surrealism in South Africa and creating surrealist imagery.