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Tuesday, December 19, 2017


(Design by Jane Du Rand)

The 2018 Phansi Museum’s BAT Art Craft and Tradition Calendar is in its 23rd year of production.  The Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) is one of the lead co-sponsors of the calendar and this year’s art focus is Art that heals and features the mosaic art on Phansi Museum’s building.

One of the most admired contributions the Bartel Arts Trust and the Phansi Museum have made to the enrichment of the cultural life in KwaZulu-Natal is the annual Art • Craft • Tradition calendar.

The 2018 Phansi Museum calendar takes a close-up look at the mosaic installations on the walls and interior of the seven-story K-RITH Tower Building on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine Campus in Umbilo, Durban. The building is home to several biomedical research centres, including AHRI, one of South Africa’s largest independent, multidisciplinary research institutes. AHRI has some of the continent’s most advanced laboratories, where scientists work to better understand, treat and ultimately cure HIV, tuberculosis disease and related illnesses. Right next door to the building is UKZN’s School Of Medicine, where doctors are trained.

It is this focus on health and the quest for cures that informed acclaimed ceramic and mosaic artist Jane du Rand’s murals. Briefed by the building’s architects in 2010 to reflect the work that happens in the building, du Rand took inspiration from symbols of healing from different cultures, and looked at the structure and shape of viruses, blood cells and bacteria. Indigenous plants with medicinal and healing properties, as well as plant fractals (patterns), also form an important part of this installation. 

The artwork is split across different areas of the building. Despite being separate, each part of the artwork has been carefully designed to have a relationship and visual connection with the other through repetitive circular shapes and interconnected patterns. On the curved garden wall outside the building, the theme is indigenous medicinal plants which are labelled and contained inside large disks. Textured, three-dimensional representations of cells and viruses, together with plant fractals, make up the mosaic on the upper levels of the building and the outside wall of the parking garage. A grouping of healing mandalas greets visitors in the reception area, while a DNA strip leads up the stairwell from the ground to the seventh floor.

Each year Phansi Museum distributes thousands of calendars to schools in cities, villages and in faraway rural areas, clinics, libraries, community centres and educational institutions across the province. This publication is awaited with much anticipation by many, both in South Africa and abroad, in rural areas.

The 2018 Art*Craft*Tradition calendar once again pays respect to and celebrates those who have created, observed, recorded and collected the treasures the Phansi Museum continues to share with the rest of the world.

Coinciding with the launch of the calendar in November, Phansi Museum, in collaboration with its main sponsor, Africa Health Research Institute, launched the AHRI/Phansi Schools Essay Competition.

“Science, like art is about discovery. Being a scientist at AHRI means constantly learning new things about our world, our society and about disease. Are you curious about the world? For the 2018 Phansi Calendar Schools Essay Competition, we are offering prizes to support study in a medical or science related field.  There will also be book prizes and a work-experience opportunity at AHRI,” says the Phansi press release.

The calendars for 2018 in poster and desktop format are available from the Phansi Museum and other retail outlets. Contact the Museum on 031 206 2889 or email: