Two new Durban exhibitions

Ursula de Haas, chairperson of the African Art Centre (AAC) Board. Picture by Illa Thompson


TWO new art exhibitions are being held in Glenwood in Durban this month – one, at the Phansi Museum at 500 Esther Roberts Road, highlighting unity between two local cultural organisations, the African Art Centre and the Phansi Museum.

The other, at the KZNSA Gallery at 166 Bulwer Road, features work by Centre for Visual Arts post-graduates and staff. It is described as “a cross between site-specific installation, collaborative work and a creative eruption”.

Having opened at the Phansi Museum at 11.30am on Saturday, July 20, Resilience is an exhibition that marks the African Art Centre (AAC) celebrating 60 years of supporting KwaZulu-Natal artists, having now moved into a spacious room in the 19th century Roberts House that accommodates the Phansi Museum.

The AAC’s coveted range of wood décor items, sculptures, bead work, accessories, jewellery, paintings, arts and crafts are for sale there.

Thuli Mkhize, salesperson at the African Art Centre with wooden birds from a new range of hand-crafted wooden animals available at the centre.

“The idea is also for the AAC to curate regular exhibitions which will be held in Roberts House utility room – currently used for meetings, film screenings, workshops and projects, all of which will continue,” says a spokesman.

Resilience was curated by former AAC director and respected authority on African art, Anthea Martin. The title talks to the process of adapting in the face of adversity, tragedy or stress.

A joint exhibition opening and celebration of six active decades was arranged for the exhibition, which was opened by Ursula de Haas, chairperson of the African Art Centre; and Paul Mikula, managing trustee of the Phansi Museum.

The group exhibition showcases the talents of many of the visual artists affiliated to the ACC – both experienced, named artists and rising stars.  Among the artists whose work will be on display are Sfiso ka Mkame, Zamani Makhanya, Malibongwe Shangase, Sibusiso Duma, Major Ndlovu, Jabulani Cele and Kenneth Shandu.

“Typically, the AAC is more than a retail outlet – it is a creative hub for art-makers and crafters, many of whom spend time on site. On Fridays, visitors can watch artists at work on their beading, jewellery-making and woodwork,” adds the spokesman.

“The joining of these two remarkable veteran organisations makes Roberts House an even more attractive, bustling and in-demand destination than before – most especially for visitors, tourists, cultural outings and educational institutions. In challenging financial times, combining resources and spaces makes sensible economic sense too.

A work titled Becoming (A Sense of), at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood,

“This perfect marriage offers a retail component to complement Phansi, enabling visitors after having seen the remarkable collection of artefacts, effectively to buy contemporary versions of the pieces on display.  Visitors can now see the old and the new side by side.”

The KZNSA Gallery exhibition opening at 6pm on Tuesday, July 23, is titled instæruption and is free and open to all.

The exhibition is described as is a cross between site-specific installation, collaborative work and a creative eruption that coexists with CVA post-graduate and staff exhibition. It seeks to interrupt the traditional relationships between viewer, work and space.

“View instæruption to see, understand and experience their production environment in a different way. What we traditionally think of as our materials also have natures and intelligence.  It becomes a doorway to realising we are an element of communal intelligence,” says a spokesman.

“UKZN’s CVA offers postgraduate study for artists at the diploma, honours, masters and doctoral level, in addition to the Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art (BAVA) undergraduate degree.

“This exhibition of postgraduate work includes interdisciplinary explorations as well as ‘traditional’ media of drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and digital art. The CVA aims to support undergraduate students to become ‘entrepreneurial thinkers and doers’.”


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