Lack of interest in art

Members of Embawuleni Art Organisation in Nyanga are appealing to the City of Cape Town to support them in the development of their craft.

Mandisi Mncela (40) and Abongile Ngqunge (23) say township artists are marginalising because they do not get enough support from the City of Cape Town.

The organisation, which is based in Lusaka, Nyanga East, specialises in paintings and printmaking.

“Many people in our communities don’t understand the power of art. They take our work for granted and they don’t buy it because they are not well informed about it. Most of us (artists) express our feelings through paintings,” said Mncela.

Mncela added that they survived by selling their work to tourists.

According to him, they work with local schools in the metro to assist and educate the learners about painting.

“We have after school programmes where we visit primary and high schools. We train and educate them on the importance of painting,” he said.

Mncela described painting as an investment­. “Painting is like the property market. The more your painting gets older, the more it becomes expensive.

“The problem in this industry is that people only buy your work if they know you.

“They don’t buy from you if you are an unknown artist. You need to have patience until people recognise you,” said Mncela.

Ngqunge described his work as being inspired by life in general.

He said his objective is to encourage upcoming artists not to give up on their dreams. “I still face the challenges of being rejected trying to showcase my work at galleries. There are some competitions that we are struggling to enter because of the requirements needed So if you are self-taught, you don’t qualify, no matter the standard of your work,” said Ngqunge.

He started art in 2007 after he was introduced to other artist by an educator in primary school.

“I was in Grade 6 when my educator at Kwa-Faku Primary School in Lower Crossroads introduced me to some of the artists at Zolani Centre in Nyanga. That is where I met Mncela, he mentored me and taught me painting. Even today we are still working together,” he said.

He said he also studied towards arts and design and history at College of Cape Town. Ward 39 councillor Khaya Yozi said he doesn’t remember speaking to the young men. “Nevertheless, the ward allocation money is too little to cater everyone.”