Celebrating the artistry of crafters in the the ‘Magical Msinga’ exhibition

magical Armbands from msinga

Running at the Phezulu Gallery in Durban until June 10 is the exhibition Magical Msinga, which features pencil crayon drawings by Jannie van Heerden and work in leather, clay wood and beads from Msinga.

Appointed as the Deputy Chief Education Specialist-Visual Arts/Design, for the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department in 1988, Jannie spent many a hot dry day in Msinga assisting local artists with the sourcing of buyers, materials and publicising their artistic gifts by working closely with museums and development agencies.

Better known for his oil on canvas paintings, he recently decided to start making his mark on paper with coloured pencils.

He has since developed a predilection for the medium because of the fine control of the pencil, its precision, the ability to blend heavy and light lines, its potential for opulence and simplicity and how one can build up on colour to achieve a variety of marks and patterns.

The drawings on exhibition illustrate his deliberate expressionistic style, the manipulation of the medium and his ability to capture the rugged beauty of the serrated rocks that wrap the landscape amid the uniquely African flora.

In Msinga as in many other traditional homes, when things went well one spent money on adorning yourself, your loved one, or the one you were messaging with beautifully beaded love letters – indicating who you are, where you come from, your status, your skills and how up to date you were with the trend of the day.

This exhibition highlights the beauty and magic of the art from Msinga and illustrates how, over time, patterns and colours changed as new materials or new master crafters arrived, for example, the Isishunka pattern being the earliest and most complicated to the Isinyolovane or the Isimodeni patterns.

Also on view area are a selection of artistic masterpieces such as beaded sculptures, beaded dolls, life sized Msinga puppets in traditional regalia and a selection of extremely special aprons worn during the period of childbearing that follow different rules all together.

The exhibition draws on artefacts from the Phansi, the George and Liz Zaloumis, and the Jolles collections to support van Jannie van Heerlen’s work.

For more information contact Sharon Crampton at 031 206 2889 or email admin@phansi.com

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