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Monday, March 5, 2012


The Durban University of Technology and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg will collaborate on an exhibition which is set to kindle public interest in ceramics.

Titled All Fired Up, : conversations between kiln and collection, the exhibition will take place at the Durban Art Gallery (DAG). Having long outgrown the title “pottery”, contemporary ceramic art is a fusion of art and science as its practitioners devise ever more innovative ways to formulate new clays and ways of forming them. DAG Curator, Jenny Stretton said that the exhibition is a conversation between kiln and collection.

“We’ve created a dialogue between the DAG’s extensive ceramics collection and working artists,’” says Stretton. “This exhibition came about from working in the storerooms and remembering how a space dedicated to the then European ceramic collections was set aside. I decided it would be really beneficial to local artists working in the medium of clay to showcase contemporary cross cultural approaches. Our DAG collection grew substantially in the nineties and our new democracy has given artists of all colours, ages and gender access to each other’s visions and work practice, and very unique forms have emerged as a result.”

Stretton added that the exhibition is also about unearthing the DAG collection and starting dialogue about what is being made by contemporary artists who use clay, what is in the collection and how concepts collide and connect.

Anthony Starkey, Fine Art Director at DUT’s Fine Art & Jewellery Design Department said the exhibition will make known the rich history of Ceramics at DUT. “The origins of Ceramics at the Durban University of Technology date to 1914 when John Adams was appointed Head of the School of Art at Natal Technical College where he set up a pottery department and taught,” he said. “Adams proceeded to create in the Art School, the department of ceramics which he made famous throughout South Africa.”

Each of the invited artists, lecturers and recent MA graduates from the ceramic departments of both DUT and UKZN in Pietermaritzburg, made a selection of work from the DAG collection that has inspired them - to sit alongside their own pieces.

Stretton believes that Ceramics have a special role to play. “Ceramic art is three dimensional, it has more claim to the immediate dynamics of society than other visual art form. It intrudes, demands space – almost as people do - and can alter its form as one circles it. South Africa is at a point in its post-liberation history where the political and social scrummage has thrown out ideas, scenaria and readymade credos. What we need are vessels to contain them and this exhibition has options aplenty,” she said.

All Fired Up is running until April 24 at the Durban Art Gallery. Further information from Jenny Stretton on 031 332 7286/ 073 1444 953.