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EXHIBITIONS

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PHANSI GOES PHEZULU 2016

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2016 BAT Calendar and the book launch, Ukukhulisa celebrates the 22 years since the calendar was first published and distributed to the communities together with the story of how each one came about.

DIRTY LINEN. 25 meters of washing line hung with many sheets imprinted with the pictures of buildings and places especially constructed to keep the black population harnessed. Reimagining the Kitchen suit.

Taking a clue from the above exhibition the fashion department of the Durban university of technology selected the infamous kitchen suit a standard demeaning uniform for black people who worked in urban residences and reinvented it as a high fashion garment that shows its middle finger to those who distributed them to their workers.’

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THE THIN RED LINE. This was the Phansi Collections’ reply to the above two exhibitions. On the other side of that same insulting Red Line stood many of the wearers to whom this outfit was seen as a passport to the city, a place of knowledge, fortune and excitement. It was usually the bravest from home that would be prepared to face this foreign world.

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NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Also a Thin Red Line Exhibition,the exhibition centers around Body Art, the fashions, the adornments, the hairstyles and more. Everything about the people in a little North West corner of Namibia.

 WIRE AND WOOD EXHIBITION

South Africa has a thriving cultural heritage of wire & wood sculpture and art.  This exhibition highlights a selection of  excellent examples of works from the Permanent Collection of the Phansi Museum and items loaned from friends of the Museum.  Sculptors include Philemon Sangweni, Raphael Magwaza, Carl Roberts, Noria Mabasa, Johannes Maswangani, Zamukwake Gumede and and wire work from Thapiwa Musani, Thulani Mchunu, Ntombifuthi Magwaza, Elliot Mkhize and  Zenzulu.

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Wire and Wood Exhibition

Wire and Wood Exhibition

LAUNCH OF THE 2017 ART-CRAFT-TRADITION HUMAN RIGHTS MURAL CALENDAR

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One of the most admired contributions the Bartel Arts Trust and the Phansi Museum have made to the enrichment of the cultural life in KwaZulu-Natal is the annual Art • Craft • Tradition calendar.  This annual publication, now in its 22nd year of production will be officially launched on Wednesday, 7 December 2016.  Each year, the Museum distributes 1 000’s of calendars to schools in cities, villages and in faraway rural areas, clinics, libraries, community centres and educational institutions across the province. The 2017 calendar features panels from the 1992 Universal Declaration of Rights and the 1994 Interim Bill of Rights murals painted on the surfaces of the east and south walls surrounding the former Central Prison in Durban.  Both these murals laid the foundations for the 1997 Human Rights Mural of the Final Constitution.  Just as the Rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Interim Bill of Rights inspired the drafters of the Final Bill of Rights in Chapter 2 of the South African Constitution of 1996, so the works of the artists of the 1992 and 1994 murals came to inspire the artists who painted the 1997 Human Rights mural. Whilst the rest of the world commemorates International Human Rights Day and the 68th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 on 10 December 2016, the Phansi Museum will celebrate the launch of the Human Rights Mural Calendar of 2017 three days earlier.  The 2017 Human Rights Mural calendar aptly also pays tribute to late Terry-Anne Stevenson, (1950 –  2016) who initiated the Community Mural Projects and who tirelessly mustered the artists in Durban including Thami Jali, Sfiso Ka Mkame, Derick Nxumalo, Zamani Makhanya, Sibusiso Duma, Lalelani Mbhele and Joseph Manana to interpret the Bill of Rights on the prison walls and transform the streets of Durban with paint.

Finally, to coincide with the launch of the calendar and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Phansi Museum in collaboration with Community Mural Projects, the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Street Law will launch the Human Rights Art and Essay Competition for learners in Grades 7, 11 and 12.  The objective of this competition is to get learners from as many schools in KwaZulu-Natal who see the calendar to illustrate their vision and understanding of our Human Rights.

Other Roots final

Other Roots:   A pop up exhibition of Indian Textiles 

Thursday, 26 January 2016 – Saturday, 18 February 2017

 Phansi Museum kicks of the year with an intimate Pop Up Exhibition of a selection of handmade embroidered and beaded textiles from Northern India.  This private collection on loan to Phansi Museum is about roots, who you are and where you come from.  If you are South African you may have Zulu, Nguni, Sotho or Pondo roots, or your roots may reach as far back to Holland or England or a mixture of those roots.  Phansi Museum illustrates that art has its roots in the world of the bantu, the ancient and the transitional.  This exhibition will allow visitors the opportunity of looking at other roots.  Snippets of the magnificent textiles of northern India, like Gujurat, Kush, IIadak, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand.

Invitation to an exhibition by Dina Cormick at Phansi Museum

New work by local artist Dina Cormick

  “A QUESTION OF BALANCE:  When all around is upside down”

25 February – 18 March 2017

DINA CORMICK says her initial thinking on the approach to the theme of exhibition all began in a precarious position of uncertainty – to fall or not to fall – both options being equally depressing and gloomy.   Hence, in a crazy world, she elected to explore radical solutions, stretching to the outermost limits of credibility and possibility.  After all, she says, the only truth is the experience of the moment, awakening to a realization that one must risk everything to find equilibrium. As can be seen in examples of her earlier work, Dina has always been fascinated by the interplay between the possible and the impossible in art.  For her she says, the most enthralling and challenging aspect of the creative process is releasing the waiting image, mysteriously concealed within the material and in this case, her chosen medium – wood.  Oftentimes says Dina, an artist has to relinquish preconceived expectations and trust simply in the wondrous exploration of creative imagination. Dina says in her artist’s statement that an important, albeit tortuous, balancing is deciding when to stop working on a piece.   “I am caught between the dilemma of ‘finishing’ to a traditionally accepted degree of completion – waxed, shiny, no scratches or defects or presenting the artwork in the peak, raw moment of [for me] deepest expression – unwaxed, with evidence of the process and the tantalizing possibilities of in completion.”

Born in Nkana, Zambia and schooled in Harare, Zimbabwe, Dina studied art at Rhodes University, Grahamstown and at Durban University of Technology, Durban.   Since 1978 she has worked as free-lance artist from her studio in Durban.  Her commissioned artworks which, include wood sculptures, mosaic and ceramic panels can be found widely distributed throughout Southern Africa in ecumenical church institutions, as well as in numerous grassroots and socio-political organisations.  Her particular concern and interest lies in the didactic importance of art.  In 1992 she graduated cum- laude as a “Mistress” of Feminist Theological Ethics, after critically discussing the manner in which women have been imaged by the Christian Church.

Dina has participated in numerous group exhibitions and solo exhibitions in South Africa and abroad and has contributed to a number of collaborative printmaking portfolios, for example the Images of Human Rights Portfolio, an Artist for Human Rights project.   Dina’s work and her contribution to South African art is widely represented in national publications and in published and critical writings and her artwork graces the covers of numerous journals, magazines, brochures, calendars and posters.

Human Rights Month celebrationsHuman Rights Celebration Exhibition – Celebrating the Art of Jane Makhubele.

23 March – 29 April 2017

 Phansi is proud to present the art of JANE and BILLY MAKHUBELE in tribute of South Africa’s Human Rights celebration, which remains enormously significant in South Africa.  Phansi has a collection of shawls from the Tsonga- Shangaan people of Limpopo.  These shawls, 1,5 meter by 1 meter in dimension of Indian cloth with the locally preferred design on a dark-blue background is chosen from the local trader and draped over the shoulders in the style of the community.  For special occasions a married woman wears a richly decorated shawl to proudly show off her status, artistic skill, inventiveness and beauty.   The favorite layout seems to be a horizontal panel filled with stories and patterns, bordered above and below by geometric designs and messages recording the name of the wearer, the address, and sometimes including the name of her husband who works far away.  Whatever is important in the wearer’s life at that time is often lovingly illustrated on the shawls.

Authorities believe that the illustration of attire, began with the search of a local identity and slowly developed into great artistic endeavors from the 1950’s and onwards, when men spent many months away on the mines and returned laden with treasures from the urban markets where they gathered treasures and trinkets to bring back to the family at home. There they would embellish the garment to celebrate love, family, home and community. When Billy Makhubele, a well- known wire sculptor from Duiwelskloof in Limpopo at the time, married his second wife Jane, she brought with her a great love of beadwork and craft and soon had the whole family making minceka (shawls) that were sold to the community.

In 1994 the momentous year in South African history their love for Mandela and the peaceful revolution resulted in the invention of a series of minceka that highlighted the iconic events during the first few years of change. Always enthusiastic newspaper readers they cut out the most spectacular events and Jane converted them into shawls of celebration and memory.  The Phansi is fortunate enough to have a few of these on exhibition for the public to enjoy.  When viewing the minceka, it is evident that colour is used to express the pure joy and renewal of life or the momentous occasion.  The red powerful outline of Nelson Mandela for instance is the pumping heart, the blood, the passion, the new life.  Against a black background of reverence that speaks of the respect for the ancestors.  At home in KwaZulu Natal we would refer to the light blue surface as being the colour of the first, i.e. the first-born in the family.   The face is featureless because as tradition dictates, would be an insult to the grand occasion.   The white used in the pieces depicts the bones of those that come before and the gold represents the sun, the treasure of earth.

Jane Makhubele says it all; Her words and colours tumble over each other in outbursts of wishes and dreams.

MAGICAL MSINGA
Magical Msinga Invitation

PHANSI goes Phezulu Gallery will enthrall visitors to the Museum with an exhibition of mesmerizing pencil crayon sketches of the existentialist landscapes of Msinga by JANNIE VAN HEERDEN   Appointed as the Deputy Chief Education Specialist-Visual Arts/Design, for the KZN Education Department in 1988 Jannie spent many a hot dry day in the region of Msinga assisting local artists with the sourcing of buyers, materials and publicizing their incredible artistic gifts by working closely with museums and development agencies. Better known for his oil on canvas paintings, Jannie recently decided to start making his mark on paper with coloured pencils.  He admits to developing a predilection for the medium because of the fine control of the pencil, its precision, the ability to blend heavy and light lines, its potential for opulence and simplicity and how one can build up on colour to achieve a variety of marks and patterns.  The drawings on exhibition illustrate the artists deliberate expressionistic style, the manipulation of the medium and his ability to capture the rugged beauty of the serrated rocks that wrap the landscape amid the uniquely African flora.  Msinga; who can forget the immense contrast of driving from the lush green fields and forests of colonial Greytown into the barren and rocky landscapes of the largely rural area located in the deep gorges of the Tugela and Buffalo Rivers in KwaZulu Natal.     This is the landscape that contain magnificent distorted rocks and land ravaged by drought, Yet, let there be a thunderstorm and within days, the colourful Nguni cows are fat again, the goats are abounding amongst the thorns and the local maidens and matrons are dressed up in their traditional finery to follow the dusty paths to attend celebrations and festivals and dances.

Msinga is a difficult place to live in, yet it is the ancestral place of people who feel that they were never conquered and will never be conquered.  The Mchunu, Thembu, Bomvini and other tribes in the region who have their links to Msinga and those who were departed to other distant homes from the farms in the area and took their styles with them.  Remember the fantastic earplugs worn by the Msinga people.  In Msinga as in many other traditional homes, when things went well one spent money on adorning yourself, your loved one, or the one you were messaging with beautifully beaded love letters – indicating who you are, where you come from, your status, your skills and how up to date you were with the trend of the day.  All this naturally executed according to the generally accepted rules of the community and the demands of the ancestors. Most importantly be humble, show respect and keep order.  This exhibition highlights the beauty and magic of the art from Msinga.

We have underlined Jannie pencil drawings with a simple bead panel which a traditional married woman wears on her cotton apron over her Isidwaba (leather apron). The exhibition illustrates how over time, patterns and colours changed as new materials or new master crafters arrived, for example, the Isishunka pattern being the earliest and most complicated to the Isinyolovane or the Isimodeni patterns.

Also on view area are a selection of artistic masterpieces such as beaded sculptures, beaded dolls, life sized Msinga puppets in traditional regalia and a selection of extremely special aprons worn during the period of childbearing that follow different rules all together.

The exhibition draws on artefacts from the Phansi, the George and Liz Zaloumis, and the Jolles collections to support van Jannie van Heerlen’s work.

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Phansi Museum Human Rights Mural Calendar and the Art and Essay Competition

One of the most admired contributions the Phansi Museum has made to the enrichment of the cultural life of KwaZulu Natal is the annual Art • Craft • Tradition calendar.  This annual publication is anticipated by many, in South Africa and abroad, in the rural areas and in the city.  2016 saw the 21st year of production of the calendar.   The theme for the year was the Human Rights Mural Wall which paid tribute to TerrryAnne Stevenson.

At the end of 2016, Paul Mikula had the desire to take the distribution of 1 000’s of calendars to schools further by launching a school’s competition which related to the content of the 2017 Human Rights Calendar.  The organizers hoped that each recipient or viewer of the calendar would be encouraged and inspired to discuss, compare and depict their understanding of certain clauses on paper either in writing or by illustration in any medium.

Organised by Education Officer, Lindiwe Ndiki. Phansi staff members, three field officers, Thami Shandu, (Durban and surrounds) Zamo Gumede (Bergville area) and Innocent Mkhize (Msinga area) and the Albert Luthuli Museum distributed 1 000’s of the calendars and entry forms to schools in KwaZulu Natal.   Phansi staff made personal contact with a total of 443 schools.  Of the 443 schools we received submissions from 80 schools –  a great achievement considering that many of the schools are from deep rural areas.   It was hoped that the learners from the many schools who saw the Phansi Museum Calendar would be similarly inspired by the murals of the UDHR and the Interim Constitution when they participate in a Human Rights Art and Essay Competition.

Hlengi Dube artist and master crafterInvitation to Hlengi Dube Exhibition Hear Me Out  Saturday, 12 August 2017 at 10:00 – Ends 31 August 2017

Phansi Museum invites the public to the opening of the first solo exhibition of one of Durban’s much loved master crafter’s Hlengiwe Dube on Saturday, 12 August 2017 at 10:00.  Hlengiwe is a celebrated artist and expert on KwaZulu Natal traditional antiquities.   She is an internationally acclaimed expert on Zulu Art and Craft and Traditions, designer of cutting edge beaded jewellery and weaver of Telephone Wire plates and bowl, earrings and jewellery.

Hlengi (as she is fondly called) is dedicated to Zulu traditions and the remarkable artworks that are generated from it.  She has spent the last twenty years working tirelessly in educating and teaching communities about the traditions of her homeland and has single-handedly changed the lives of many black artisans who otherwise would have languished in poverty with their artistic talents wasted.    Hlengi has travelled far and wide visiting rural and urban artists in KwaZulu Natal trave

ling by bus or taxis in good and bad weather, to fulfill her dream of making sure that artists are receiving the help and training they require.    Not only does Hlengi mentor artists with technical skills she is committed to assisting them with product development and design, pricing, retail and marketing.

This exhibition of telephone wire baskets is titled Hear Me Out and is based on an ancient ritual and rite of passage, ear piercing or Ukuqhumbza, which is a ceremony performed when young Zulu ears where pierced.  Zulu earplugs speak of the coming of age and the opening of ears to the world of the adults.  The baskets are created using hard wire, a technique produced by weaving telephone wire from the inside out, with the wire being wound around the core wire in outward circles. The designs that she has incorporated relate to the geometric shapes of traditional Zulu ear plugs which are no longer being used as readily as they were in the past.

We invite you to visit the Museum, to meet the artists and to see her work and the setting she provided for it.

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Postmodern NDEBELE

“Looking at how the Ndebele Artists exploded into the greatest postmodern artists and architects of our time”

 The exhibition illustrates how Ndebele art exploded into greatest postmodern art and architecture of Southern Africa. Ordinary, everyday people become sculptors, huts become palaces, beaded paintings becomes the expression of individuality. Closes on 30 September 2017

Bahai Durban Exhibitionengblom invite 4 (2)

After a break of more than two years, the inimitable Peter Engblom returns to Durban and the Phansi Museum with an exhibition of records and anecdotes of a fascinating trip he took through India in 2016 and from where he brought back magical, virtual artefacts and myths that will baffle you, make you laugh, challenge you and make you wonder where the truth lies.  The exhibition will be opened by Paul Mikula.

Inspired by the inventor of all things wonderful, Dr Mpunzi Shezi, Peter has recreated a selection of the original Shezi fabrics using traditional block printing and starch resist on hand spun and hand woven cotton Khadi fabric. While the eco-friendly fabric was already known for its rugged texture, comfortable feel and ability to keep people warm in winter as well as cool in summer, its new-age reinterpretation as a modern yet quintessentially Indian textile has made it very appealing to millennial generation.

A series of three dimensional Memory Boxes filled with objects, photographs and whatnot tell the stories about the Jewish contribution to Bollywood, Chef Shezi’s infamous banana cake, the Japanese contribution to the history of Vindaloo curry, his stint as a vibration healer and his contribution to development of mail rockets in the hill station of Ootomocond.  In addition, a few special pieces of retro furniture lovingly restored with hand block printed silk screened and digitally printed Shezi mermaid and crow fabrics will be on display.

A selection of Chilli Shrines pay tribute to Shezi’s virtuosity and skill.  When Shezi arrived in India in 1911, large manufacturers, sent out representatives with samples of their merchandise to sell, they became known as box wallas and they began to sell their products more widely.  Shezi then decided to improve on the system and made portable shrines from which to sell his special Chili Sauce.  Performers dressed as crows and mermaids were hired to dance and flop about as he extolled the virtues of Jalpari Tears and Black Crow Elixir, from portable shrines. The shrines are planned constructions of magic and mysteries from the past and artefacts that changed history.

A series of once-off expressive and delicate gum bichromate prints featuring Chef Shezi’s Chili sauce performances and episodes from his travels complete the picture.  The complicated ancient printing process which Dr Shezi would have used in India involves sensitizing lamp black with potassium dichromate. Each of these prints is unique and the destroyed negative is attached to the back of the print.

In the words of writer and actor Peter Machen, further contemplation of the visual documentary set up by Peter, the onlooker is lead to believe that things are not as they seem, that they never took place, but at the same time, you want to believe because it such a wonderful story.   Please visit this exhibition.  It will make you feel really good.

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Phansi Museum launches the 2018 Art* Craft*Tradition Calendar

 ART THAT HEALS
and the PHANSI AND AFRICA HEALTH RESEARCH INSTITUTE (AHRI)

CALENDAR SCHOOLS ESSAY COMPETITION

One of the most admired contributions the Bartel Arts Trust and the Phansi Museum have made to the enrichment of the cultural life in KwaZulu Natal is the annual Art • Craft • Tradition calendar.  This annual publication, now in its 23 year of production will be officially launched at 12:00 on Saturday, 18 November 2017 at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), 719 Umbilo Road, Durban.

The 2018 Phansi Museum calendar takes a close-up look at the mosaic installations on the walls and interior of the seven-story K-RITH Tower Building on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine Campus in Umbilo, Durban.  The building is home to several biomedical research centres, including AHRI, one of South Africa’s largest independent, multidisciplinary research institutes. AHRI has some of the continent’s most advanced laboratories, where scientists work to better understand, treat and ultimately cure HIV, tuberculosis disease and related illnesses. Right next door to the building is UKZN’s school of medicine, where doctors are trained.

It is this focus on health and the quest for cures that informed acclaimed ceramic and mosaic artist Jane du Rand’s murals. Briefed by the building’s architects in 2010 to reflect the work that happens in the building, Jane took inspiration from symbols of healing from different cultures, and looked at the structure and shape of viruses, blood cells and bacteria. Indigenous plants with medicinal and healing properties, as well as plant fractals (patterns), also form an important part of this installation.

The artwork is split across different areas of the building. Despite being separate, each part of the artwork has been carefully designed to have a relationship and visual connection with the other through repetitive circular shapes and interconnected patterns. On the curved garden wall outside the building, the theme is indigenous medicinal plants which are labelled and contained inside large disks. Textured, three-dimensional representations of cells and viruses, together with plant fractals, make up the mosaic on the upper levels of the building and the outside wall of the parking garage. A grouping of healing mandalas greets visitors in the reception area, while a DNA strip leads up the stairwell from the ground to the seventh floor.

Each year Phansi Museum distributes 1 000’s of calendars to schools in cities, villages and in faraway rural areas, clinics, libraries, community centers and educational institutions across the province.  This publication is awaited with much anticipation by many, both in South Africa and abroad, in rural areas.

The 2018 Art*Craft*Tradition calendar once again pays respect to and celebrates those who have created, observed, recorded and collected the treasures the Phansi Museum continues to share with the rest of the world.

Phansi Museum AHRI Calendar Schools Art and Essay Competition 2018

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Invitation to an exhibition of work by Master Weaver Elliot Mkhize 2 December 2017

 “Telephone wire weaving gives me great joy, it has enabled me to provide for and educate my family.  I was able to pay lobola for my wife and it has raised my standard of living.  It has kept me and many others whom I have taught from poverty but most of all it has kept me safe and off the streets”     Elliot Mkhize

Born in 1945 in Ixopo on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal, Elliot Mkhize was introduced to the techniques of grass basketry and from where his dexterity and skill in telephone wire weaving emerged.  Elliot uses the hard wire technique, which is referred to as a coiling technique and is very different to the soft wire method of weaving.  Hard wire baskets are made from the inside out, with the wire being wound around the core wire in outward circles.  This is more difficult than the soft wire technique and is very hard on the fingers, it requires enormous skill and is therefore more expensive.

Elliot’s first job was as a supervisor at Lever Brothers in Durban.  This was followed by a short stint as a machine operator at the Natal Mercury.  A job at the Natal Playhouse Theatre, as a night watchman was his brush with destiny. He was introduced to the “night watchman art”, the world of telephone wire weaving.  When he first saw the bright colours used in the telephone cable, he said to himself, ‘That is something amazing man…’.  After watching other night watchmen cover their knobkieries and sticks with coloured telephone wire he started adapting the technique by weaving traditional bowls.   Elliot Mkhize is credited as being the innovator of wire basket weaving in the early 1970s.

Elliot has been living in KwaMashu just outside Durban, since 1959.  Father of 10, he spends his days weaving wire baskets or working in his community vegetable garden.  Elliot’s basket making is a full time enterprise and he always has a basket in process.  He works late into the evenings and starts working early each morning.  He says his head is always full of patterns and images and colour combinations.  He seldom uses figurative images and never draws or designs a pattern before commencing work.  He says it all comes from his head and is transformed onto the flat basket.  Elliot says that while he is creating the basket he counts the stitches all the time to ensure uniformity.     He wove his first basket in 1973 and took it to Jo Thorpe at the African Art Centre to sell.  Jo continued to sell his work to tourists and continually encouraged him and promoted his work.  By 1984, Elliot was a much sought after, successful weaver of telephone wire.

Two of Elliot’s ten children are basket weavers. S’khumbuzo and Melusi Mkhize who learned the skill from their father are now passing their skills on to children in the community and nearby schools.  Elliot is represented in the much acclaimed publication, Wired by David Arment and Marisa Fick-Jordaan and is very proud to say that most of the other wire weavers referred to in the book were taught to make baskets by him.  Elliot was instrumental in passing on his skills to members of a poor community in Siyanda where many people lived in abject poverty.   Many of these crafters still work and market their baskets through the African Art Centre and other retail outlets in Durban.  Elliot is fondly known as their grandfather of craft.  He is currently the most renowned and successful telephone wire weaver and the only master weaver with formal art school training.  He has travelled abroad to America, Denmark, France, Namibia and Sweden to promote his work.

He participated in his first group exhibition at the Durban Art Gallery, titled Vulamehlo (open your eyes) in 1989 and continues to exhibit in South Africa and abroad.  His work is represented in numerous private and public collections including the Campbell Collection, Durban Art Gallery, Vukani Museum, Tatham Art Gallery, SA Sugar Association, the South African National Gallery and the Johannesburg Art Gallery.  His work is sought out by national and international collectors

 

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