- 18 February 2021
- General, KZNSA
Founded in 1902, the KZNSA is KwaZulu-Natal’s foremost contemporary gallery, hosting artists of national and international stature, and reflecting the vibrant creative heart of the province. It is a not-for-profit, public benefit organisation with 18A status and is committed to the promotion of the contemporary arts.
Fundamentally, the KZNSA is an inclusive society where the public, fellow educators, students and artists gather to share their common interests in the unique and intimate space of the gallery. In addition to exhibitions, there are artist-led educational initiatives, an annual gallery members’ competition, and the opportunity for young KZN artists to exhibit at art fairs providing them with national exposure from which great opportunities arise.
One hundred and nineteen years on the institution continues to support creative initiatives in the province and serves as a launchpad for many artists’ careers. However, we have been severely impacted by Covid-19, the 2020 national lockdown and now, the second wave along with Level 3 restrictions.
Having said that, over this treacherous time we have been able to develop an exciting exhibitions programme including ‘Three Way’,’ a group exhibition of three young artists whom explore notions of queerness in, sometimes, very direct and other times veiled ways. All three artists presented a personal relationship with the notion of queerness. The exhibition gained national and international acclaim aiding us in being recognised as a local contemporary gallery space emphasising significant messages and concepts while also prioritising the exposure of young artists. Another important example, ‘Commune’ a physical realisation of a virtual exhibition presented at Turbine Art Fair 2020 in collaboration with Strauss & Co, who presented the work of the late masters, Gladys Mgudlandlu and Maggie Laubser. Looking at communal gatherings of women, the exhibition brings to reality the kind of community the KZNSA seeks to foster, and how a shared future is shaped given current restrictions on communing. In addition to these we were able to reignite our Young Artists’ Project – conceived in 2002 as an institutional platform for experimental art practice in the city of Durban. YAP provides young artists with financial and curatorial support as they create new works to be realised in the space as a first solo project of sorts. In 2020, YAP hosted 8 young artists working in their mediums of choice, and using the space to create new and/or site-specific work. The 2020 season of YAP had two exhibitions of 4 young artists each. The project is led by a curator who offers mentorship to two young emerging curators throughout the project offering a range of opportunities and exposure the young creatives in KZN.
We are going from strength to strength, gaining credibility as an art institution on numerous levels and developing recognition as a place to find collectable work. In 2020 we were invited to participate in Prizm – the international fair – where our online booth was very well received. But because we function as an NPO, income genration through teh sale of art has not always been steady, however, we are working on growing in this area through the distribution of exhibition documents to our client and collectors list (which continue to grow), maintaining an up-to-date online presence and participating in fairs.
In April 2020 an incredible initiative, by a member, generated donations to get us to the end of 2020. From there we could start sustaining ourselves with turnover from the festive season in our art shop and cafe. However, the second wave means this has not materialised and we find ourselves facing closure again. Along with many other creative institutions and places relying on tourism, retail and hospitality, we are not getting the turnover that we need. We’ve done well to survive thus far but are now seeking your help.
The KZNSA has 18A status and is able to issue tax exemption certificates for donations. An easy-to-use donation form to capture your details for an 18A certificate is avaiable here.
For individual donations you can scan the Zapper code here. If you wish to make a donation via EFT, please use the banking details below and indicate it’s a donation.
Kwazulu-Natal Society of Arts
SWIFT : FIRNZAJJ