From the Director's Desk

Brendan Bell

You will know by now that a new parking facility has been opened for the Provincial Legislature. Gallery staff have been allocated parking within the boom. The Legislature has also agreed to make this area available for Gallery functions in the evenings and at weekends. Unfortunately the space is not available during weekday working hours, but there are parking bays before the boom allocated specifically for use by visitors to the Gallery. There aren’t many, but please make use of them. They are clearly marked.

No sooner had that parking problem been partially resolved than the Church Street gardens were cordoned off to establish a builder’s yard. This is to accommodate materials and site offices being used by the contractors who are upgrading part of Chief Albert Luthuli (Commercial) Road. We have been told this will take eight months, but are hoping that the gardens themselves will be dealt with thereafter. The boom has been moved to allow large trucks entry to the builder’s yard. However, swipe cards for the boom are still operational, and there is limited parking available. We have been assured that visitors to the Gallery are welcome to use the parking behind the Bessie Head Library.

Our Education Officer post has been advertised but no appointment has been made at time of writing. Pinky Madlabane-Nkabinde will be on maternity leave from early July. She and Kobie Venter have designed a most inventive programme for our regular Friday youth art classes. I am so impressed with the results, and the obvious talent that surrounds us is staggering.

Paper sculpture from Friday Art Class

The Gallery’s permanent collection continues to attract national and international attention. Gerard Sekoto’s In the Orlando Train has been loaned to a major exhibition commemorating the 100th year since his birth. Evelyn de Morgan’s The Thorny Path will be shown on a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery next year.

This edition of Outline coincides with four milestones for staff. Gretta Phoswa and Doris Kunene turned 60 and 50 respectively. May you live many more years, ladies. Bryony Clark now holds the record as the longest serving Gallery staff member with 25 years to her credit. I refer to her as our mess monitor, and it’s true in the best sense of the phrase. I am the longest serving Director with just over 20 years, known variously as “Mnumzane” or “Baba kaBenji”. Do I have regrets? Despite many bad moments, no! I feel very privileged to have a job I really love.

Brendan Bell

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