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Making art accessible:
MTN Foundation & Imbali partner for better arts education

Unknown (Ovambo), Omakipa / Ivory Broaches (late 19th Century)carved ivory. MTN Art Collection

In the book Messages and Meaning: The MTN Art Collection, Ronel Kellner is quoted as saying: ‘The uniqueness of the collection’s education focus was in the philosophy of accessibility and mobility’. This philosophy is echoed in the work of the Imbali Visual Literacy Project, which, says Nortje, ‘is exactly why the partnership between Imbali and the MTN Foundation has been so successful. Both these organisations want to increase and improve access to the arts. MTN transports the actual artworks from its collection to where it is required, whether it be for exhibitions or workshops, and publishes on it extensively through educational supplements, newsletters, catalogues and the seminal Messages and Meaning book. Imbali has based the resource books on their 32 years of experience in providing accessible and curriculum-related arts education material which anyone – from educator, to learner, to professional and novice – can understand, while demonstrating the material with hands-on instructional workshops and ongoing support for teachers, especially those that are new to the subject.’
     Launched as a series in 2018, the Imbali Artbooks: Adventuring into Art is an incredible resource featuring vibrant images of artworks by South African artists across generations. Many of these artworks have been sourced from the MTN Art Collection. ‘One of the ways that an appreciating corporate asset, such as an art collection, can increase in value is through effective provenance development. It is of pivotal importance and has always been at the core of the mandate for the MTN Art Collection. This is accomplished by having the art collection participate in – and contribute towards – public exhibitions and youth development programmes as much, and often, as possible. Images of MTN’s art holdings published in educational resource material and catalogues extends the impact of the artworks while acknowledging and bringing tribute to the producers and artists from our country and the rest of the continent. With MTN having remained steadfast to this mandate for the last 22 years, its art collection continues to increase in monetary and reputational value. Now, with utilising digital platforms, this accessibility and impact is extended exponentially and in perpetuity – which is why investing in the Adventuring Into Art project and website, makes such valuable sense,’ says Nortje.

Interdisciplinary art workshops, facilitated by dancers, conducted with Grade 7 teachers from the Mahlatswetsa District in the Free State (2013)

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