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AMAGUGU VII TREASURES (article first published : 2006-03-4)

The next exhibition at the African Art Centre will be the eagerly-awaited annual Amagugu VII Treasures which will be opened on March 15 at 17h30 by Yvonne Winters, Senior Museologist of the Campbell Collections of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The African Art Centre has collected in the region of 1,000 pieces this year including a large amount of beadwork as well as wooden spoons, milk pails, headrests, imbenge and ceramics.

The beadwork has been collected from some unexplored areas such as the Ngxamanga Group of the Eastern Cape and the Xhesimbe Group of the Mount Ayliff area of KwaZulu-Natal. From the Eastern Cape there is beadwork from the Fengu, Pedi, Xhosa and Pondo groups as well as the abovementioned Ngxamanga. From the KZN South Coast, the collection features Xhesimbe of Mount Ayliff, Pondomisa, Umkomaas and Port Shepstone areas. From the midlands of KZN there are Swayimani of the New Hanover area, the Valley of 1000 Hills, Msinga, Vryheid, Estcourt, Bergville, Njasuthi and Pongola. Also on show are entire outfits for both men and women from Msinga, Greytown, Maphumulo, Valley of 100 Hills and Umkomaas areas.

The first time the African Art Centre exhibited old artifacts was in October 1994. The exhibition was called African Dream and was opened by Sydney Dube of the University of Zululand. The exhibition showed isicamelo - wooden Zulu headrests, pottery and some beadwork.

The next exhibition of old artifacts was in March 1996 and was titled Vuka - Wake up!. It was highly wild successful, with collectors bringing camping stools to await the opening. When the shop doors were opened there was a virtual stampede.

In 1997, the African Art Centre moved to premises in the Tourist Junction so there was no exhibition of artefacts that year.

The next one was in 1999 which was called Amagugu I Treasures and so the tradition began. Six years later, the exhibition has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the highlights of the African Art Centre calendar.

Yvonne Winters will give a talk on the Amagugu VII Treasures exhibition at 12h00 on March 18 for The Friends of the Durban Art Gallery. The general public is welcome.

Amagugu VII Treasures is funded by the Bartel Arts Trust and runs from March 15 to 25 at The African Art Centre in Tourist Junction. There will be a preview for South African Museums and Public Galleries on March 15 from 09h00 to 16h00. Those wishing to attend should contact Brenda Mkhize on 031 301 2717.

More information on 031 304 7915 or e-mail: anthea@afri-art.co.za or visit www. afriart.org.za




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