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New Director for African Art Centre - Durban

Media Release

New Director for African Art Centre

Over the past 56 years the African Art Centre has earned the reputation of being the longest surviving South African organization involved in the development and promotion of African artists and crafters.  Following on this rich history the Centre is proud to announce fresh impetus as it welcomes Magdalene Reddy as its new Executive Director.

Magdalene Reddy holds an Honours Degree in Music and has been a manager in a number of sectors within the arts and culture industry over the past 10 years. 

Most recently, Reddy worked with the SA Seasons’ team on promoting South African arts and culture in both France and the United Kingdom in the SA-UK Seasons and the SA-French Seasons, which were projects of the Department of Arts and Culture that saw thousands of South African artists perform and exhibit their work across these countries.  Prior to this, she worked at the Centre for Creative Arts playing a vital role in the implementation the CCA’s four iconic festivals – the Durban International Film Festival, Poetry Africa, Time of the Writer and the Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience.

“Although my first love for the arts was through music, my work at the Centre for Creative Arts developed my interest and experience across all artistic genres of  African culture.  I was privileged to have been part of creating a platform for African and international artists to share the beauty of their expertise with Durban audiences.  This intercultural exchange of artists and arts practitioners had helped me appreciate all forms of art in a special way,” says Reddy.

Reddy now brings her passion and experience to the African Art Centre helping to steer the ship into the next era.   “The wealth of local South African art needs to be shared with the world, we need to create processes and platforms for our artists to thrive.  The African Art Centre is here to help grow South Africa’s creative economy by developing market access and professional exhibition platforms for cutting-edge and relevant work by the artists and crafters of KwaZulu-Natal.”

“Our vision is to create an enabling environment for the sustainable development, promotion and preservation of  African arts and crafts with special focus on KwaZulu-Natal.  Our focus now is to strengthen the economic benefit for local KZN artists.   This will be achieved through three primary pillars – local and international exhibition platforms, development programmes focusing on the creative and business aspects of the art and the provision of a retail and wholesale outlet for artists and crafters.”

Part of freshness at the Centre is its new, energetic and diverse board lead by Yanni Vosloo, Merchandise Director for Mr Price Home, “It is an immense privilege for us to be able to provide a safe and nurturing platform for the emerging creatives of KZN, at the African Art Centre. The challenges we face are common to many businesses and non-profit enterprises where budget and funding for creative endeavours are limited, commitment is scarce and participation intermittent, BUT we remain focused on the needs of our artists and crafters, determined to ferret out true talent and develop those eager for knowledge and experience. It is for these qualities that we appointed Magdalene and the Board is delighted in her delivery and for the development she’s achieved in a very short time.”

To kick off the 2016 exhibition programme, the African Art Centre recently released a call inviting local KZN artists to be part of a Human Rights exhibition themed 20 Years Later:  A Fresh Look at the Bill of Rights.  This group exhibition, curated by Carol Brown, will be opened by the Hon. Justice Albie Sachs.

Twenty years ago South Africa was full of hope looking towards a new future.  The Bill of Rights, which was the cornerstone of the Constitution of SA, was widely celebrated as being one of the most progressive in the world.  Justice Albie Sachs (one of the architects of the Constitution) launched the Images of Human Rights Print Portfolio at the Durban Gallery in 1996.  A proud moment. Where are we now? Much has improved while much remains a work in progress. 

South Africa today is a beautiful but complex country and this exhibition aims to celebrate this beauty whilst bringing some of the complexities to the fore.  A group of artists, who attended a workshop on the Bill of Rights, will be showing new works highlighting how artists envision the present which is built on the past.

Justice Albie Sachs will launch this exhibition of prints, drawings, paintings and photographs, all created especially for the exhibition by well known artists as well as unknown young talent. The exhibition opens on Thursday 10 March at 17:30 at the African Art Centre, 94 Florida Rd, Durban, and will run for 3 weeks.

For more detail contact the African Art Centre on 031 312 3804/5,  email africanartcentre@afri-art.co.za or go to www.afriart.org.za .

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Photo : Magdalene Reddy : Director of the African Art Centre by Val Adamson.