Amagugu VII: Treasures Exhibition
The African Art Centre in the Old Station Building in the city’s CBD, is hosting Amagugu V11 - their
annual “treasures exhibition” - from 15 until 25 March, which has become one of their most
significant and popular major exhibitions of the year.
“We have collected a particularly large amount of special pieces of beadwork this year. We also have
wooden spoons, milkpails, headrests, imbenge and ceramics. In total, we have about 1000 pieces to
show,” says proud director Anthea Martin.
“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 we have garnered beadwork from the Fengu, Pedi, Xhosa and Pondo groups as well as
the Ngxamanga. From the South Coast, work from Xhesimbe from the Pondomisa, Umkomaas and
Port Shepstone areas. From the Midlands we have the Swayimani of the New Hanover area, the
Valley of 1000 Hills, Msinga, Vryheid, Estcourt, Bergville, Njasuthi and Pongola,” explains Martin.
Items of special mention this year are entire outfits for both men and women from Msinga,
Greytown, Maphumulo, Valley of 100 Hills and Umkomaas areas. This is particularly unusual and
very interesting and will be sold as complete outfits.
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 called Vuka - Wake up! This was in March 1996. The year Anthea Martin joined the
African Art Centre. She was amazed by the wonderful pieces that had been collected, so titled the
exhibition Wake up, as she wanted people to be aware of our wonderful heritage. This exhibition
was a wild success, with collectors bringing camping stools, to await the opening of the shop and
when the doors were opened there was a stampede.
Since then, this exhibition has become a regular feature on the KZN arts calendar and is always
eagerly awaited by art lovers and collectors.
This year, the exhibition will be opened by Yvonne Winters, Senior Museologist, Campbell
Collections of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The catalogue and exhibition is sponsored by The
Bartel Arts Trust. An accompanying catalogue will be available with photographs compiled by Anthea
Martin. The exhibition will be opened on Wednesday 15 February and runs until 25 March.
Yvonne Winters will give a public talk on the Amagugu VII - Treasures exhibition at noon Saturday 18
March 2006 for The Friends of the Durban Art Gallery. Public are most welcome to come along.