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Sunday, August 11, 2013


(Taking part in the silent sunset vigil for Woman’s Day are: closest to railing going up: Shamilla Pather, Nisika Gumede, Jenny Stretton and Mduduzi Xakaza. Middle row: Tholakele Mdakane, Coral Bijoux and Sakhile Gumede. Closest to camera: Mathabo Kunene and Gary van Wyk)

The newly-invigorated Durban Art Gallery, in the Durban City Hall, is hosting Conversations We Do Not Have: Acquiescence –a collaborative exhibition to acknowledge Women’s month and uses as a starting point the beautiful narrative artwork panels currently being archived at the Phansi Museum which will form the core focus of the Amazwi Voices of Women Museum.

“The notion of Acquiescence is at the very heart of the exhibition. It looks at issues of dignity, identity, healing and respect and references our past and in particular why we commemorate August 9,” explains curator Coral Bijoux. “We are hopeful that the exhibition has real potential to make a powerful statement about women.”

The exhibition uses a selection of the 3,000 narrative panels. The panels are complemented by artwork chosen from the DAG Permanent Collection to enrich the conversations in different media across cultures and time.

Pieces selected from DAG include works by Virginia MacKenny; Faiza Galdhari; Mamatakane Makara, Lola Frost; Stainbank; Isolde Krans; Jane Alexander and Jules Triquet – with pieces spanning the spectrum from 19th century oils-on-canvas to contemporary mixed media sculptures. Interspersed with the art will be examples of iconic clothing items which are used to define women – such as Indian bridal wear; beaded pieces; burkas and lace work.

A strong educational component will accompany the exhibition – comprising workshops and walkabouts. For the full educational programme, contact Witty Nyide on 031 311 2274 for enquiries/ bookings.

Across the road, the Playhouse Company is hosting a companion exhibition with work which talks to a similar theme as part of their Women’s Arts Festival.

The Amazwi-Voices of Women Museum will be based in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. “The Amazwi vision not only focuses on conserving women’s narratives and their accompanying artworks (there are about 3,000 currently), but to use these to create awareness, share and engage in discourse on women, gender issues, hopefully changing back the ‘voicelessness’ to ‘voice’ of women who are still largely dispossessed in a contemporary society, presented as democratic.

At the opening on August 9 of Conversations We Do Not Have: Acquiescence, guests gathered in front of the Durban City Hall at 18h00 to light candles and to hold a silent vigil for five minutes, as a public show of solidarity with the abused, marginalised and voiceless women across the world.

Situated on the second floor of the magnificent Durban City Hall (entrance opposite the Playhouse), the Durban Art Gallery (DAG) is open seven days a week: Monday until Saturday from 08h30 until 16h00, and Sunday from 11h00 until 16h00. Entry is free and all are welcome! For more info, contact the Gallery on 031 311 2264 / 9 or (weekdays).