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Wednesday, June 29, 2011


(“Summer Time”, acrylic on paper by Derrick Nxumalo)

Places and Spaces is an exhibition by KZN artist Derrick Nxumalo currently running at the African Art Centre.

Derrick Nxumalo was born in Dumisa near Scottburgh in 1962. A former gardener, miner and waiter, he added politician to his list of activities in 2003, when he was elected as councillor for the district of Dududu in KwaZulu-Natal. A self-taught artist, Derrick has adopted an exploratory approach to his technique and subject matter. Passionate about his genre, Derrick’s work is characterized by his skilful use of bold, colours and highly detailed images.

Initially, Derrick drew detailed landscapes with ball-point and felt tipped pens. Recognizing his talent and potential, the late Jo Thorpe (first Director of the African Art Centre) and well-known architect, Paul Mikula, supported and encouraged the young artist to reach his now established position as an artist.

“My work is different from that of other artists because of the bright, primary colours and detailed designs I consistently use,” Derrick says. “Before I start working on my paintings, I spend a great deal of time researching my subject matter, contemplating the design and establishing the purpose of my painting. For me to complete a painting takes a long time, because of the intricate detail and the consistency of the paint I use; it takes a long time to dry”.

Derrick is inspired by nature and his surroundings and his paintings demonstrate his interaction and affinity with the environment in which he exists. In addition, he demonstrates a keen interest in the urban landscape, often portraying hospitals, offices, game lodges, bus stops and Zulu homesteads. These scenes are near-idyllic, brightly hued, without debris or destruction; at times, the deliberate omission of human presence presents an almost dreamlike or imaginary effect.

Delicately formed architectural detail, his perceptive use of colour in its purest form and his understanding of perspective complete the distinctive style for which he has become recognized.

Derrick has participated in exhibitions in South African and abroad including the Spier Contemporary 2010; The Standard Bank Arts Festival; The Durban Art Gallery; The Zabalaza Art Festival, Oxford, United Kingdom; The Arnolfi Gallery, London; L’Altra Contemporanea, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg and the African Art Centre, Durban.

His work is represented in major art collections including the South African Breweries; Standard Bank, Johannesburg; MTN Collection, Johannesburg; Telkom, Killie Cambell Collection, Durban; Johannesburg Art Gallery; House of Assembly; Anglo Vaal Corporation; University of Witwatersrand; Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg; EThekwini Municipality, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban; The Campbell Collections; Paul Mikula & Associates; Bill Wright, New York, U.S.A.; David Elliot, London; Gencor Art Collection, Johannesburg; S.A. Reserve Bank Pretoria.

Places and Spaces runs until July 17 at the African Art Centre, 94 Florida Road, Morningside, Durban. More information from Director, Sharon Crampton, on 031 312 3805 or the Development Officer, Nozipho Zulu, at 031 303 4634.