Practical art

2008-09-25 00:00

CERAMIC artist Vejeand Dessai, who has exhibited at Art in the Park in the city, has just opened a new gallery for his ceramic tile designs in Pietermaritzburg.

Dessai’s tiles and tiled panels are all one-off pieces. Even when he uses transfer prints, he makes his own at his Summerveld studio and he tells his clients that no two will ever be exactly the same. And many of the tiles and panels are hand-painted, each one a unique piece.

As well as designing, creating and installing tile schemes for kitchens and bathrooms, Dessai does a lot of work for prayer rooms. The new gallery has a number of intricate and beautifully executed tiles showing Hindu gods and goddesses, vividly coloured and immensely detailed.

Dessai trained as a graphic designer, and puts that training to good use in his Tilecraft business. But he is always on the lookout for other opportunities — he was a finalist last year when the South African Mint ran a competition for the design of a commemorative coin to celebrate the granting of World Heritage Status to the Vredefort Dome, south of Johannesburg.

He is about to enter another competition, this one run by the eThekwini Municipality to celebrate aspects of South African history. Dessai is creating a collage of images of Mahatma Gandhi on a panel of nine ceramic tiles, showing different aspects of his life. He also plans to enter a similar collage on Nelson Mandela. This kind of work needs both creativity and research, something Dessai says he enjoys.

Dessai’s new gallery is at 43 Rupar Crescent, Orient Heights, and will be open every day from 8 am to 4 pm.

To contact the gallery, phone Shelen Kara at 033 391 1237 or 083 361 2179. To contact Dessai phone him at 031 769 1168 or 083 367 7721.

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