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GORDON LOWINGS (article first published : 2004-05-14)

For many years a well-known figure on the Durban visual arts scene, Gordon Lowings died on March 16 at the age of 77.

He was born in Durban and left school at 13 to contribute to the family’s income by working as a postman. At the age of 17 (underage!) he joined the Air Force and was stationed in the desert during WWII. He served in the reconnaissance division as a navigator and gunner.

After the War he studied art at the St Martins School of Art in London. As a young boy he was always drawing so this seemed a natural path. He returned to Durban after his studies and started an advertising business with John Cleal, now a prominent English artist. After a few years, he joined Neil Sack in the latter’s gallery and was the driving force in opening a Neil Sack Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.

In 1982, he opened the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery with Elizabeth Johnson. This became a venue for many significant art exhibitions in Durban. He retired after a few years but remained as a consultant to the Gallery as large companies and collectors sought his expertise for their collections and for evaluations. He finally retired in 2002.

Gordon the man was full of compassion. He was passionate about music, philosophy and art. He had a hungry mind. He was able to steer a line of reasoning and understanding that was always respectful without being subservient, insightful without being overbearing, humble without being weak and always honest in his dealings with people.

He was a keen watercolourist and wood sculptor. While reserved about his own work he was persuaded to have an exhibition of his sculpture in 1991 which was a great success. Until illness curtailed his activities he was busy painting and carving.

Condolences are extended to his partner Kathleen, whose total dedication during his months of illness was unstinting, and to his children Tony and Karin and his grandchildren. All who knew Gordon have lost a true and admired friend. – Gerald Baise




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