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Wednesday, June 29, 2016


(Terryanne Stevenson. Pic by Peter Engblom)

Well-known Durban artist Terryanne Stevenson passed away in April 2016 and will be sorely missed by the arts community.

On August 12, 2014, former Durban Art Gallery curator Jill Addleson wrote an article on Stevenson in her Art News Blog:

“Terryanne Stevenson has made a huge contribution to street art murals in Durban over the past 25 years. She was often to be seen working on scaffolding at various sites in our city, together with Durban artists like Thami Jali, Lalelani Mbhele and Joseph Manana. Her reputation as a dynamic promoter of mural art was not confined to Durban: during her career she was invited to introduce this art form elsewhere in South Africa - in Soweto, Thohoyandou, Thembisa, and East London, and in many other cities.

“Through mural painting Terryanne created jobs for artists throughout South Africa. The knowledge gained by artists working with her has been passed down for future artists to use: indeed, she says with pride, that to this day, artists both here and in other parts of the country frequently come up to her to thank her for the artistic skills she taught them and which enabled them to support themselves through their art,” she adds.

Community Mural Projects intend to make an art history book on Terryanne and the people she inspired. Simon Vines, who is writing the book, says:

Terryanne Stevenson was involved in many street and rural art projects in Durban and SA. These record the period that our country changed to a democratic state, and the liberatory outpouring of new art that accompanied it.This was an incredibly dynamic time in South Africa as the old regime was replaced by a democratic government.

“In the 1990's she was at the forefront of inspiring and encouraging poor young artists to express their identity and creativity in the context of the newly evolving democratic South Africa. Initial research has been done and summarised,” he adds.

The book is about Stevenson and the arts milieu/s in which she operated encompassing the African Art Centre, BAT Centre, and Community Mural Projects. This includes her friendships with and mentoring of young artists such as Trevor Makhoba, Sfiso Mkame, Derrick Nxumalo and Zama Gumede.

It is also about the growth and explosion of popular community and street art undertaken by then young artists who were often excluded from mainstream art inclusion or recognition, as well as the more established artists who encouraged and were influenced by this outbreak.These underground and aboveground movements emerged from the late 1980’s into the new era.

“The links back to Terryanne Stevenson would be the thread that draws these stories together,” says Vines. “It should be a colourful book that is a joy to either look at or read, but also requires cataloguing within a proper archival system.”

Contributions are needed from the many people who knew and worked with her to give the book a broad historical perspective. These will require collation and further written, visual/media and editorial inputs. The book will be designed around the visual content and possibly include other media, such as audio and video files. It will be a celebration of art, creativity and personalities that can be a lasting tribute to Stevenson. This has the potential to be a visually exciting and well-presented publication.

Contact Simon Vines on email: