Art spaces open up in Durban
by Virginia MacKenny
Good news for Durbanites is that there suddenly appears to be a plethora of new galleries in the offing.
Junubi Afriqui Gallery has suddenly arrived on the scene with very little fanfare. Found at Price Waterhouse Place on the corner of Essenwood and Silverton Roads, it specialises in quality contemporary Islamic art. Recognising that Islamic art has manifested itself in different forms in the regions where Islam has taken root, the gallery has been created to encourage the development of a vibrant South African Islamic identity. To support this it has embarked on a skills-development programme.
Another gallery at the Point Waterfront is soon set to provide a venue for multicultural and multi-disciplinary events. The brainchild of Joe Butler, an African-American now living in Durban, the Skati Urban Gallery will provide 350 square metres of space - not only for art, but live music, an internet café, a cocktail bar and a tourist information centre. Supported by Third Eye, a group of local artists comprising Gabisile Ngcobo, Sifiso ka Mkame, Zamani Makhanya, Neliswa Mgobo and Thando Mama, the gallery will open in July.
Last but not least, Neil Roake of the Durban Designer Emporium has announced plans to launch a Museum of Contemporary African Art in Durban. The idea is still on the drawing board, but Roake's fashion and art collaboration at the BAT Centre this weekend (see Listings) is his first foray into making the concept public.
Finally Durban seems to be offering some genuine alternatives to a rich cultural base of artists.