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Saturday, April 18, 2009


Andrew Verster to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the Durban University of Technology.

Andrew Verster is to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

A practising artist for over 50 years, Andrew Verster turns 72 this year. Last year, in celebration of his 70th birthday, he launched Past/Present, his recent publication/book edited by Carol Brown.

Andrew Verster is Durban’s most prolific artist and has contributed enormously to the art world. The Durban University of Technology (DUT) would like to recognise this artist’s commitment to his work and the art world. Well known for his stylistic way of painting, he has taken part in many different kinds of artistic projects, from contributing designs for stage play costumes to jewellery. It goes without saying that Verster’s contribution to the art world deserves this kind of recognition.

Concurrent to the awarding of an honorary Doctoral qualification, the DUT Art Gallery will showcase Verster’s artworks which are part of the university’s art collection. This collection has existed since 1982 and has been collected through purchases and donations. During the time Verster served as an advisor of the gallery’s committee, he was also instrumental in the growth of the collection and the gallery’s policies.

Born in 1937 Johannesburg, Andrew Verster was trained at the Camberwell School of Art and Reading University. He has lectured at the University of Durban Westville (then University College, Durban) and Technikon Natal (now DUT) until 1976 when he gave up teaching to become a full-time painter.

Andrew collaborated with the architect Hans Hallen on Mangosuthu Technikon and the Brenthurst Library. He has written short stories, articles and radio plays (winner of the BBC World Service Playwriting Competition in 1992 was You May Leave, The Show Is Over). The second was commissioned by the BBC, Future Past with Janet Suzman. Another, When In Rome, Don’t Drink The Water, was shortlisted. His short story, Aileen, Marjorie, Arthur And Me, was broadcast by the BBC.

He designed the sets and costumes for Opera Africa’s Faust, Princess Magogo and La Traviata and Rigoletto, and designed for the American production of Princess Magogo, 2004. He did costumes for The Coolie Odyssey and for Threnody And Dances, a chamber opera, Women’s Festival in August 2002 as well as designed costumes for Private Lives for the Hilton Festival and for the adult pantomime Sinderella, producing costumes for Barnyard Theatre productions The Rocky Horror Show in 2004 and Grease in 2006.

He was involved in the 2002 Durban Designer Collection and the 2002 and Miss India costumes. He was also involved in the 2005 Durban Fashion Week featuring beadwork collection designed for the African Art Centre.

Andrew received the best costume design in the Fools Awards 2003 and best costume design in the Durban Theatre Awards 2004. He also received the Fools Awards 2005, 2006 and 2007 for best visual artist.

Andrew has been a member of the Film and Publication Review Board, Trustee of the Durban Art Gallery, the Arts Work Trust, Very Special Arts, Artists for Human Rights Trust and the African Art Centre. He also served on the Committee of the Grahamstown Festival.

He has had over fifty solo exhibitions, is represented in many major public and private collections, and has been awarded two retrospective exhibitions organised by the Durban Art Gallery.

Andrew has had numerous public and private commissions, including a sculpture and tapestry for the Reserve Bank Durban, art works at the Durban Hilton, tapestries and a mural for ABSA Headquarters, Johannesburg and a tapestry in the ICC Durban. He also created three tapestries for Rhodes House in Oxford. Stainless steel screens for Metro Mall, Johannesburg, also form part of his extensive works. Andrew was also commissioned by the Constitutional Court for pieces including the entrance doors, carpets for the chamber and foyer, metal gates and chandeliers.

The Andrew Verster exhibition runs at the DUT Art Gallery from April 21 to May 18. To learn more about the artist visit

More information from DUT Art Gallery Curator Nontobeko on 031 373 2207 or 078 190 1221 or email: