KZN's leading art gallery to sell works by local artists from just R200

15 August 2017 - 11:45 By Shelley Seid
A preview of some of the work which will be available at KZNSA's Park Contemporary Gallery.
A preview of some of the work which will be available at KZNSA's Park Contemporary Gallery.
Image: Niamh Walsh-Vorster

It was a conversation with a friend - an architect - that spurred Angela Shaw to open a retail gallery at the Kwa-Zulu Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA), the province's foremost contemporary art gallery.

"We were chatting and he said he needed to fly to Johannesburg to buy art for his clients. That's just wrong," says Shaw, operational director of the Glenwood-based space.

The new Park Contemporary Gallery will offer affordable, bespoke, original art and collectables by local art makers - respected "names" and emerging talent.

"We always had art in the shop," explains Shaw, "but it was squished between handbags and cushions and really didn't give the art the dignity it deserved."

The gallery will be formally opened on August 24, but has been quietly operational for about two months. It's already surprisingly successful, says Shaw, who is responsible for its curation.

"No one is supposed to know about this but the demand is already there," she say.

The space is filled with an eclectic collection of styles, forms and materials - large oil-based portraits hang alongside moody black and white photographs; woodcuts, pen and ink architectural drawings and Walter Battiss reproduction prints vie for your attention; a collection of smooth pebbles covered in henna print nestles on a pedestal.

Works range from R200 to R20,000.

An artwork by Wonder Buhle Mbambo.
An artwork by Wonder Buhle Mbambo.
Image: Supplied

"Our staff know the artists and their stories, and as a gallery we will promote artists we believe are collectable," says Shaw,

"There is so much exciting emerging talent. This province incubates incredible talent and then it runs away. We want local artists to sell their work here."

The gallery is also providing "prêt-à-porter" framing, and has sourced affordable frames in all the standard paper sizes. Artists' works are framed for display and customers can buy the work alone, or with the frames. The frames themselves are also available.

"We want to make it easy, affordable and comfortable for both the buyer and the seller - we are the space where the maker and the market can meet," says Shaw.

• The Park Contemporary Gallery is based at KZNSA Gallery, 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban. It formally opens on Thursday, August 24. Call 031- 277-1705.

• This article was originally published in The Times.