Impressions of Rorke’s Drift exhibition at Durban Art Gallery

Impressions of Rorke’s Drift exhibition at Durban Art Gallery

Impressions of Rorke’s Drift – the Jumuna Collection is currently exhibiting at the Durban Art Gallery until February12, 2014.
This significant exhibition features a huge body of mostly never-before seen hand-made prints from the heyday of the Rorke’s Drift Arts and Craft Centre.

Curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe, Impressions of Rorke’s Drift – the Jumuna Collection looks at the legacy of the now-iconic Rorke’s Drift Arts and Craft Centre as told through a rare collection of prints, which are on loan from the Jumuna Family from Durban – who have quietly been collecting Rorke’s Drift prints since the 1960s. Family members from around the globe have pooled their collection together to be on public display for the first time. The Jumuna collection is supplemented by works from the DAG permanent collection.

Many of the artists who studied at The Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre have had a major impact on South African art. These artists include Sam Nhlengethwa, Pat Mautloa, John Muafangejo, Kay Hassan, Dumisani Mabaso, Bongiwe Dhlomo, William Zulu, Azaria Mbatha, Paul Sibisi, Lionel Davis and Sandile Zulu amongst numerous others. The exhibition is even more poignant with the recent passing of Rorke’s Drift veteran, Dumisani Mabaso, whose beautiful sepia-toned image was co-incidentally chosen as the poster/postcard image to promote the exhibition.

The Centre concentrated initially on weaving and pottery – but these facilities developed into a printmaking studio which attracted artists from all over the country and beyond. It is situated on the battlefield of Rorke’s Drift (1879) a historical site of the Anglo Zulu War.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre, which was established by Swedish missionaries Peder and Ulla Gowenius in 1962, gave a voice to many talented artists who were denied the opportunity to further their craft. The Swedish missionaries also enabled the work to be seen by an international audience at a time when South Africa’s art could not easily access a global stage.

The process of print-making enabled art to reach a wider audience – works could travel to multiple destinations and was affordable for the artists and the buyers.
Impressions of Rorke’s Drift – The Jumuna Collection opened at the Durban Art Gallery on September 19, where it runs until February 2014 before touring the country. A series of workshops, walkabouts and events will accompany the exhibition.

* The Durban Art Gallery (DAG) is open seven days a week, Monday until Saturday, from 8.30am until 4pm, and Sunday from 11am until 4pm. Entry is free. DAG is on the second floor of the Durban City Hall building – enter opposite The Playhouse.
For more information, call 031 311 2264/9; send an email to  Jabu.Mngwengwe@durban.gov.za, or  craig@kizo.co.za; or visit www.kizo.co.za.