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Monday, March 3, 2014


(Hunting Dogs Urn - ceramic by Ardmore)

Running in the Ceramics Room at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg is an exhibition titled Contemplation: animal - vegetable – mineral.

The Tatham offers an invitation to ponder on the origins, similarities and contrasts of the objects on display. All are from the Gallery's permanent collection, and most are recent acquisitions from different areas of KwaZulu-Natal.

The origins of any collection of objects on our planet can usually be traced back to three basic materials: animal, vegetable and mineral. Children of all ages who like guessing games quickly learn to use these divisions in their questions, but answers can become surprisingly complicated when the object is an animal made from wood or clay, or when one needs to decide in which categories charcoal, shell, horn and plastic fit.

The display also invites other comparisons, such as cultural origins and cross-cultural references.  A further aspect to explore could be the original intention of the maker, whether it is functional, decorative or symbolic.

Contemplation: animal - vegetable – mineral runs until April 27 at 17h00. The Tatham Art Gallery is situated opposite the Town Hall in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h00 to 17h00. More information on 033 392 2801 or visit