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ABELUMBI (article first published : 2001-09-10)

The Durban Art Gallery is presenting an exhibition entitled Untold Tales of Magic: Abelumbi and major KZN artists are invited to submit one work to the Durban Art Gallery on this theme.

The theme is broad and covers magic, both good and evil, from diverse cultures and backgrounds. It includes indigenous themes in Zulu culture such as stories about the snake and the baboon, the best known being The Night Rider. This incident takes place at night when the baboon’s keeper leaps onto his back facing backwards and both baboon and rider go off together into the dark and dangerous night, sprinkling magical herbs and medicines on the doorsteps of unsuspecting victims. But the exhibition will also include stories, myths, legends and tales from western culture and from the east.

Each artist may submit one work on the theme, and in any medium, to this exhibition. Media are very wide ranging and include fibre, clay, oils, water colours, prints, wood and metal sculpture, indigenous beadwork, dolls, basketry, telephone wire and ceramics etc.

Works must be submitted to the Durban Art Gallery on November 9 and 10 between 09h30 and 15h30 and on November 11 between 11h30 and 15h30.

The organising committee will make a final selection of work in early November. The exhibition will be opened at the gallery in April 2002 by Dr Y Seleti, Director, the Campbell Collections, University of Natal.

This is the first time that an art museum in South Africa has curated an exhibition on the theme of magic as it is known in Zulu indigenous culture and in western and eastern cultures. The exhibition has attracted generous sponsorship from commerce, trust funds and quasi-state sponsors, enabling the printing of a comprehensive catalogue containing information about every exhibiting artist and each work on exhibition. All participating artists will be asked to write a brief commentary on the magical elements in the work they have submitted. And there will be catalogue essays on the theme of magic written by leading academics and museologists in KZN. The exhibition may tour to the other KZN galleries depending on sponsorship raised.

Sponsors to date are Absa, Arts & Culture Trust, Bartel Arts Trust, Communications and Public Relations, Durban Metro, FNB, Liberty Liquors (Pty) Ltd, Nedbank, Research Management and Development Facility, M L Sultan Technikon, Robinson Liquors (Pty) Ltd, the Aaron Beare Foundation, the MTN Art Institute and United National Breweries Limited.

More information and entry forms from Jill Addleson on (031) 332-7286, Pat Khoza (031) 311-2275 or Musa Mncwabe (031) 311-2265.




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