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.