Blurring the lines

2007-12-27 00:00

The concept of unifying art rose to new heights earlier this month in Florida Road, Durban, when curator Sue Greenberg opened her new gallery, Artisan.

Devised to blur the lines between fine art and fine craft, Greenberg’s gallery at 344 Florida Road opens with the curator’s annual “collection” exhibition, aptly titled KZN Collection 2007.

“I wanted to focus entirely on KwaZulu-Natal this year,” Greenberg said. “Our province is often considered a cultural backwater and yet the number of internationally-recognised arts and crafts people living and working here is unsurpassed in South Africa.”

On walking around the gallery, based in a renovated house that was built in 1926, it is clear that the craft is as worthy as the art.

“The reason that there is such a mix of craft and art — and I really battle to see the difference — is that I want to narrow the gap between fine art and fine craft,” said Greenberg.

Names of all artists, well-known as well as lesser-known, disappear entirely in this new gallery and, Greenberg says, it is because she is doing away with the business of “whodunit” and focusing more on “do-I-like-it”.

“I am trying to promote local artists and to show that you can have beautiful things around you in your own living room,” Greenberg said.

From cushion covers and jewellery, to cutlery and tablecloths, the crafty aspects of the gallery mix well with the finer of the art forms, such as Ardmore ceramics and Gabisile Nkosi’s prints from Caversham Press. There is also a selection of work done by underprivileged children, such as some prints from Rorke’s Drift and cushion covers from Shongweni.

Now up and running after a few administrative mishaps, Artisan, which stands for Art in South Africa Now, will be showcasing the finest contemporary South African art in all its shapes and forms, said Greenberg. “Artisan will also provide a platform for the exploration of new ideas and directions.”

As part of this direction, Artisan this week launched a range of exclusive gift cards under the Africloth Designs label. “Modelled on the Kanga, the designs have been immortalised by a prominent politician hailing from KZN,” said Greenberg.

• KZN Collection 2007 runs through until mid-January. Gallery hours are from 9 am to 4 pm daily. Inquiries: 031 312 4364 or 083 301 5747.

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