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The ART of healing
Opens Friday, 2 March 2018 at 17:30 for 18:00


Phansi Museum invites the public to its first major exhibition of 2018, which opens on Friday, 2 March 2018.   This exhibition takes a closer look at the beauty, magnificence and mystery of the art of the izangoma and their role as healers and conduits to the spiritual world.

The izangoma are  considered to be of the most respected members in their communities and play a significant role in the lives of many, probably the majority of people living in South Africa.  Equivalent to the same people working in similar fields in the humanities, for example doctors, ministers and priests which are sadly rich with opportunities for quacks, con-artists money-grabbers and naysayers.

Regrettably most of the research and writing done on the indigenous practices of the izangoma and the izinyanga (herbalist) undermine this mystical art with horror stories of spells, witchcraft and body-parts putting aside that they themselves live in a world of star-signs and tea leaves all the way through to the conspiracy theories of the pharma industry.   The art of the izingoma is synonymous with beauty and creativity.  With this exhibition, we take a look at the other side, at the tools of transformation, how beauty can heal, how medicines can repair and how the izangoma guide and direct their patients to believe in their own power and ability to heal.

At the exhibition you will come face to face with magnificent beaded and embroidered textiles, beaded mats and hairpieces and medicine containers in all sizes and shapes that celebrate their mysterious content with beads and other adornments – all using their own  persuasive avenues such as brand names, perfume bottles and money belonging to the other worlds around us.

The isangoma and inyanga, often one and the same person in the community, is the go-to help  person when there is something troubling you; be it physical, psychological, fear or pain.

The izangoma are not employed or in business – they are called  and this is their art, ubuntuArt – This is their art, ubuntuArt.   It is  remarkable.


Phansi Museum AHRI Calendar Schools Art and Essay Competition 2018

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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 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 which 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 labeled 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, and 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 which the Phansi Museum continues to share with the world.

First Pop Up Exhibition for 2018
Sibusiso Duma

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Phansi Museum would like to invite the public to visit the Museum to view our first POP-UP exhibition of the year.  The exhibition of a small selection of paintings and painted plates by much-admired local artist Sibusiso Duma will be open for viewing from Friday, 26 January 2018.

Unfortunately, as society buckles under the weight of the economic crisis, so too goes the support of fine arts.  It is not only individual artists who are reeling from the effects of a decrease in sales, many auction houses and art fairs are suffering the consequences.   In addition to this, most artists find it difficult to market and sell their work effectively whilst trying to produce new work for the market.   With this initiative, Phansi Museum would like to join all the other art galleries and associations in Durban in exposing the works of art of our local artists to larger audiences.

Sibusiso’s body of output spans a professional career launched in 1997, when he participated in his first group exhibition at the African Art Centre with Welcome Danca and Trevor Makhoba.   Born in Durban in 1977, Sibusiso developed a talent for drawing at an early age and spent most of his time drawing houses and cars on the walls of his home.    Much like his mentor, well known artist Trevor Makhoba, Duma reflects on his experiences of life with hints of humour and satire which he says help him to make sense of the social conditions of our time.  His work is typified by his surface treatment, subject matter, composition and the use of space and colour which collectively create touches of mystery and intrigue.    His exceptional use of personal iconography and metaphors harvested from everyday life manifest a fine balance between fantasy and reality.   Sibusiso’s work has become increasingly drawn toward pointillism, a painting technique elaborated from the impressionists in which dots of colour are juxtaposed on flat surfaces.  In 2010, he was selected as one of ten finalists in the ABSA Atelier Exhibition in Johannesburg for a painting executed in this technique.

Phansi Museum launches the 2018
Art-Craft-Tradition Calendar

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