Thursday, October 27, 2011

The African Art Centre, Shop & Gallery

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

The rich historic background of the African Art Centre currently located on Florida Road in Morningside Durban, has over the past 50 years provided countless artists and craftspeople with opportunities of self employment and realization of their talents and skill. Under the leadership of the late Jo Thorpe in its first three decades of existense, the art centre has since operated as an autonomous non-profit organisation. The legacy of Thorpe and his contribution to the African Art Centre comes highly noted as he was responsible for single handedly putting Durban on the global map for running an art centre that was noted for its importance in black artistic development.

Through various marketing initiatives with assistance from sponsors as well as supporters, the African Art Centre makes it a priority to help artists and craft-workers tap into domestic, provincial, national and international markets with their work. The organisation basically operates on the idealism of encouraging artists to become self empowered entities. The art centre plays its part in providing a professional enviroment where the works of these artists and craftspeople can be showcased.

Boasting an impressive list of artists who have recieved international acclaim, the likes Azaria Mbatha, Tito Zungu, Gabisile Nkosi, William Zulu, Trevor Makhoba and Rueben Ndwandwe, have had the quality of their lives dramatically improved through the recognition of their talents.
The centre's doors are open to the most economically disadvantaged to the fustrated artists craving recognition for their work.

With an undisputed reputation for producing and supplying specialized high quality products as well as being recognised as one of the longest surviving South African organisations involved in the development and promotion of the work of artists and craft-workers, every purchase made at the African Art Centre provides income & employement for more than 600 artists and crafters currently supported by the organisation.

Living by a motto that reads “An organisation of excellence which changes the lives of artists and crafters by empowering them through innovative skills training, development and promotion”, the future certainly looks promising for artists and craft-workers looking to build a successful future in the arts.

Giving Back To Somalia Benefit Concert

by Njabulo Ngobese

On Friday the 21st of October 2011, AFH (Art for Humanity) launched the Giving Back to Somalia initiative through a free benefit concert that took place at DUT City Campus.

Lending a hand in assisting the millions of Somalians who are currently battling through the drought and famine, AFH has taken it upon themselves to encourage DUT students to assist in this humanitarian crisis. Seeking donations of 1 tin of canned food from each learner, the Giving Back to Somalia initiative will run from 21 October till December 17. All food donations can be dropped off at the Art for Humanity office, room 107 next to the cashiers on the first floor at DUT City Campus.

AFH is also proud to announce that Friday's benefit concert has recieved positive reviews from newspaper publications such as Isolezwe who ran the story on Monday's edition on page 14. Hopefully if we can get potential sponsors to come on board, we can expand the initiative into a campus tour that will go as far as Pietermaritzburg. The objective behind this, is not just about involving DUT only but reaching out to other institutions of learning as well to join in the fight against poverty in Somalia.

The Gift of the Givers organisation will be responsible for the transportation of all collected food to Somalia. For additional information on the project please contact the Art for Humanity office at 031 373 6610.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shailja Patel Invades DUT

by Njabulo Ngobese

Dialogue Amongst Civilisations participant Shailja Patel paid a visit to DUT City Campus last week Wednesday as part of the 15th Annual Poetry Africa Workshops. Accompanied by Sandile Dikeni (South Africa) & Dikson (Zimbabwe), the workshop quickly showed signs of good things to come.

In her current visit to South Africa, Patel highlighted her brief tour around Cator Manor a township located on the outskirts of Durban and how much it intrigued her with its rich history and potential to produce good significant stories for international audiences. She also spoke of the Cop 17 conference taking place in Durban later this year as she encouraged local journalists to start producing their own stories on their background environment before someone from outside snatches the opportunity.

In true Patel style, she went out of the norm and initiated a poem amongst the audience that beared relevance to the upcoming Cop 17 summit. A piece that had the audience actively involved chanting "what are we brewing?", "who's gonna drink it?", who's gonna love it?" the purpose of the poem was to give students an idea of dazzling the rest of the world with the rich stories Durban and South Africa had to offer.

She closed off the workshop with a poem that was inspired by her colleague promoting a message of unity amongst society.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

AFH School Workshop at Chesterville Secondary

15 year old scholar, artist and poet Sne delivers a heart warming motivational piece at the Art for Humanity School Workshop at Chesterville Secondary.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Live or Let Die

by Njabulo Ngobese

A tour around Durban's art centres and galleries proved to be quite a fruitful experience when the last stop we made surprisingly gave purpose to the whole trip. It was an awakening to an issue that has never been openly brought up for discussion in the arts community,...divisions.

The thin line drawn between what is considered commercial art and that those of purists who practice solely for personal fulfilment, has widened a gap of differences between the two. Commercial art galleries have apparently been disregarded by most art purists, claiming that they do not cater for their specifications but focus primarily on the business aspect of the trade. Observing both arguments respectively, there is probable justification behind the manner in which commercial art galleries run their operations. According to an independent art gallery owner, the term 'commercial' shouldn't even be associated with their business or the work they do.

Along with the community of art purists who have expressed their discontent for the 'commercialisation' of art for profit gain, the independent gallery owner validated her argument stating that divisions are pointless if we are all working towards the same goal.

At the end of the day like anything under the sun, continuation and progress relies on sustainability. Unfortunately for most art purists who have rebelled against the concept of commercialising their work, their art has landed in places where it will never receive the appropriate accreditation both economically and socially. The money factor for 'commercial' art galleries defines their initial vision of how artists and their work should be represented to the general public.

It is however sad to learn that most commercial art galleries do not accommodate up and coming artists due to the demands of their clients who warm up mostly to established names in the field. But the show must go on and common ground has to be established for the eradication of the gap between commercial and non-commercial art. The purpose of any form of artistry is to reach an audience and make an impact in their lives. This can only be accomplished if the work receives the appropriate platform to generate its accreditation and revenue.
Dear AFH Friends and Associates.

AFH sends warm greetings and hopes that you are having a pleasant year thus far.  Please receive our newsletter of the month of September. All comments and letters are welcome.

 Art for Humanity: what is art?

AFH defines art as that which is created to inspire all of humanity with freedom of expression, the quest for excellence, pride, dignity, and respect for individual rights, reflection and heritage.

In this month’s issue:


-          Dalai Lama Denied a Visa

Dialogue among Civilizations

-   Dialogue Among Civilizations Publication Available
-   Dialogue Among Civilizations Review
-   Interview with Tunisian Artist, Nicene Kossentini

Women for Children

-   Under Control - Q & A with Angela Buckland
-   A look back at Women’s Month
-   ‘Precious Cargo’ by Ernestine White and ‘Her Elements of Life’ by Chantel   Erfort

Break the Silence

-    Real Stories Gallery
-   "Yehoshua Comforting an Aids Victim" by Mduduzi Xakaza

General News

-  Themba Shibase Finalist for 2011 Sovereign Africa Art Prize
-  Njabulo Ngobese – Media Intern 2011
-  ASJ Conference
-  5th International Entertainment Education Conference - New Delhi November 17-20, 2011
      -   FNB Art Festival 2011

Contemporary News

-    The Power of a poem

Click HERE the link to view our September/October 2011 Newsletter

Warm Regards,

Thireshni Sanasy & Njabulo Ngobese

AFH Media Team

Art for Humanity

(Formerly Artists for Human Rights)

C/o Fine Art

Durban University of Technology

City Campus

Box 953

Durban 4000

South Africa

Tel: +27 (31) 373 6610


Art for Humanity...'the art of human rights'