Call for proposals

Dialogue on Ernest Mancoba, Cape Town, South Africa
Deadline: 31 October 2019

Dialogue on Ernest Mancoba

This is a call to participate in a Dialogue celebrating the art and words of Ernest Mancoba, 1904 (South Africa) – 2002 (France). The Dialogue takes the form of a symposium in which scholarship and research on key influences on Mancoba’s work will be presented. It also takes on the form of a “festival” in that the influence of Mancoba’s art and words on contemporary artists and theorists will also be celebrated.


How to participate?

It is called for either research papers or artistic responses.

(1) Research papers should focus on key artistic influences on Mancoba’s work and critical analyses. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • African social realism – i.e. Mancoba’s “Black Madonna”; the artworks of Mancoba’s South African peers and friends, Gerard Sekoto and John Mohl; intellectualism and politics at the University of Fort Hare; Sister Pauline at Grace Dieu Anglican Church missionary school
  • The influence of the art of other people and times – sub-topics include “Primitive Negro Sculpture” written by Paul Guillaume & Thomas Munro (1929), a book that Mancoba has said was important to him throughout his life; artworks and objects at the British Museum (1938) and Musee de l’Homme now Musee Quai Branly; Scandinavian pre-historic objects
  • African Modernist art and Mancoba
  • European Modernist art – including but not limited to Paul Klee, Wasily Kandinsky
  • CoBrA artists and Mancoba’s other European contemporaries (1940 onwards)

Papers should be 20 minutes long.

(2) Artistic responses are creative expressions in respect of Mancoba’s art. Mancoba respected not only visual artists but also thespians such as Shakespeare and Charlie Chaplin and musicians such as Mozart for how their work connected humankind. Responses can take the form of, but not limited to:

  • An artwork – including performance
  • A poem or prose or thought pieces
  • A musical piece

Responses should be no longer than 10 minutes


Dialogue fee:
• Cost of South African Rand 500 to cover cost of tea/coffee and lunch on Tue 11th Feb and copies
• Fee subsidies for qualified students are available – please enquire
• Travel arrangements and costs to Cape Town are not covered by the fee


How to Apply

  • Please send your name, email/phone number (optional: title, institutional affiliation)
  • Please state whether you are proposing a paper or an artistic response?
  • If paper, please include a title and a 200-300 word abstract
  • If artistic response, please describe your proposal (100-300 words including title, medium and brief
  • Please also specify any special logistical needs – regret no funding for production or installation is available)
  • Please email to ErnestMancobaConference@gmail.comby 31st October 2019
  • Applicants of accepted proposals will be informed by 30th November 2019


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