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TThe Durban Art Gallery was founded in 1892 and exhibits cover carvings, clay pots and beadwork, as well as the works of artists like Andrew Verster and Penny Siopis. The museum hosts a collection as diverse as the population of the region.
The Durban Art Gallery showcases artwork dating as far back as the 15th century right up to the present, which are on show on a rotational basis. The diversity at this art gallery in Durban (eThekwini) makes for an accurate representation of the many histories of the KwaZulu-Natal region.
The museum was created when Cathcart William Methven, a harbour engineer at the time, gave one of his paintings to the town council in 1892. Since then, various donations and purchases were made to build up the collection. The collection was boosted in 1920 when Colonel R.H. Whitwell, an art connoisseur and philanthropist, presented over 400 works to the Gallery.
Among the items donated were British, French and Dutch paintings, objets d'art such as French and Chinese ceramics, early glass vases by Lalique and bronzes by Rodin.
The diversity of the donation established the character of the foreign collection. From the 1970s on, many works of local artists and craftsmen were added to this Durban African art collection, and the gallery's collecting focus is now largely concentrated on works that reflect the rich multi-cultural diversity of eThekwini and South Africa.
The Durban Art Gallery promotes art awareness and the art and culture of KwaZulu-Natal through a variety of activities such as workshops and films.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
The Durban Art Gallery
Tel: +27 (0) 31 311 2264/9
How to get here
The Durban Art Gallery in central Durban is easily accessible by car, taxi and bus, and there is ample parking in the area.
Best time to visit
The gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 4pm and on Sunday from 11am to 4pm.
Things to do
During school holidays there are special activities for the young folks, including craft workshops at the EduCentre in West Street. Children can learn crafts like beadwork, basket weaving and straw hat-making.
Tours to do
If you give the gallery at least a week's notice, tours in various languages can be organised. The gallery has access to a squad of volunteer guides who will take groups of visitors around the exhibitions.
What will it cost?
Admission to the gallery is free, except for special, advertised events.
Contact the gallery for up-to-date information on permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Gallery lecture theatre on the 1st Floor presents various films and lectures from time to time. Check with the Gallery for details.