What a cultural gem!
If you find yourself visiting Pietermaritzburg you cannot afford not to visit this gem of a cultural hub. The gallery has a cross-cultural permanent collection with regular ad-hoc exhibitions relevant its mission of providing a bridge between the colonial past and the new democratic dispensation and its idealistic future. Grounded in the KZN ethos but speaking to an international set of artistic ideas this museum with surprise you with the depth and variety of its offerings. The museum shop is well-stocked with unique items of interest and the restaurant offers suitable well priced fare.
— Review from Tripadvisor

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Tatham Art Gallery

The Tatham Art Gallery is one of the major art museums in South Africa. This art museum is funded by the Msunduzi Municipality and belongs to the residents of Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. The Tatham Art Gallery serves the Msunduzi region through the Visual Arts.

A major function of the Tatham Art Gallery, established in 1903, is to display art. This is accomplished through the hosting of a range of art exhibitions. These include travelling and researched exhibitions as well as exhibitions initiated by the Gallery, and based on art works in the permanent collection.

The Permanent Collection

A selection of the Tatham Art Gallery's permanent collection is always on display. Work by South African and European artists is displayed upstairs. The work of KwaZulu-Natal artists is displayed downstairs. A selection of ceramics is displayed in the Ceramics Room.

The Main Exhibition Room

The Tatham Art Gallery displays major exhibitions in the Main Exhibition Room downstairs. Exhibitions change on a regular basis. These include travelling and researched exhibitions showing the works of groups or individual artists of significance. There are also exhibitions organised by the Gallery that draw on the works in the permanent collection or from artists of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Schreiner Gallery

The Schreiner Gallery is an exhibition space dedicated to smaller temporary exhibitions. Artists may apply to use this space for solo or group exhibitions. Visit the EXHIBITIONS page here for more and for requirements if you wish to apply.


The Tatham Art Gallery has an extensive Education and Outreach programme, including art classes for the youth, Art Educator training , an Artist’s Forum and Lectures and talks.   Continue reading →

It is that time of year again!

The FOTAG Committee invites all artists to start planning for the Fabulous Picture Show - an annual auction held to raise funds for the purchase of new art works for the Tatham Art Gallery’s permanent collection. Your donation will assist the continued growth of this art collection.

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SUBMISSION DATES Gallery staff will be available to accept work from 14h00 to 16h00, on the following Tuesdays: 03,20,17 September 2019.
FINAL SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE Saturday 28 September 2019, between 10h00 and 14h00.

1. Artists donate up to three original, unframed works of art to FOTAG.
2. Signed, editioned, original digital prints are welcomed, but not prints of existing originals.
3. Boards and canvases may be any size up to a maximum standard A4 only,  21 x 29.7cm.
4. Works on paper: the image should be no bigger than 13 x 21.7cm, to allow for mounting and framing.
5. All 2D art works in the prescribed sizes will be framed by FOTAG, and hung by Gallery staff.
6. 3D works are also welcome, size not to exceed A4 dimensions.
7. Acceptance of art work is at the discretion of the FOTAG Committee.
8. Art works will be loaded onto the FOTAG website as they are submitted, so keep checking www.fotag.co.za for the latest entries.
9. Artists will be offered first option should their art works not be sold at the auction.

EXHIBITION DATES Sunday 17 November 10h00, until Friday 22 November 16h00.
AUCTION Friday 22 November at 18h00 for 18h30 (doors open at 18h00).
ENQUIRIES reena.bhoodram@msunduzi.gov.za or 033 392 2823 (between 09h00 and 10h00 daily)

Visit www.fotag.co.za

Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery

FOTAG Membership Subscriptions

June 2019 - June 2020


For FOTAG to continue publicising the Gallery activities, we need your subscription. Apart from joining the free e-mail lists you can become a member! Subscriptions run from July 2019 until the end of June 2020. If you join now, your subscription will be valid until the end of June 2020. The subscription form can be found here!

Temporary Exhibition Proposals for 2020

The Schreiner Gallery in the Tatham Art Gallery is a tem- porary exhibition space for artists and art groups. Artists are invited to submit portfolio presentations for next year to the Exhibitions Committee, which meets in July 2019. The deadline for submissions is Friday 12 July 2019 at 16h00. Terms, conditions and a proposal form can be found here

kobie.venter@msunduzi.gov.za 03 033 392 2819
pinky.nkabinde@msunduzi.gov.za or 033 392 2811
reena.bhoodram@msunduzi.gov.za or 033 392 2823

Visit the Cafe Tatham for the best cappuccino and cake in town!

Sunday Concerts

Sundays at 11h30

Lorna Ferguson Room
28 July - ‘Moonlight’ Sonata with Christopher Duigan (piano)

The Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery (FOTAG), in association with Music Revival, present a regular monthly concert which usually takes place on the last Sunday of each month.

The concerts highlight and showcase the Shigeru Kawai grand piano recently purchased by the Gallery. This ensures the continuation of highly successful and engaging concerts for local audiences at the Tatham.

Visit www.musicrevival.co.za for all details.

Sunday concerts at the Tatham Art Gallery now offer free tickets for children and students. Children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult and booking is still preferred.

Current Temporary Exhibitions

Igshaan Adams

Current Temporary Exhibitions

Jaap Jacobs: Recent Work

Schreiner Gallery
Opens Friday 24 May 2019 at 09h00
Closes Sunday 14 July 2019 at 17h00

This exhibition consists of art works recently produced by Jaap Jacobs, some in fulfilment of his present Honours course in Fine Art at the Centre for Visual Art, University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. The artist is interested in the biographies of objects and their power as conveyors of personal history. He experiments with a variety of unusual materials and methods. At the same time he challenges the relevance of traditional methods of conservation in museum practice.
Education programmes around this exhibition include discussions and workshops.

kobie.venter@msunduzi.gov.za 03 033 392 2819

Image: Jaap Jacobs, Postcards for my Mother, mixed media

Igshaan Adams:
Standard Bank Young Artist 2018
When Dust Settles

Main Gallery
Opens Sunday 09 June 2019 at 11h00
Closes Sunday 21 July 2019 at 17h00

Igshaan Adams (b 1982), the winner of the 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art, presents a body of work titled When Dust Settles. Drawing upon the material and formal iconographies of Islam and coloured culture, Adams’s cross disciplinary practice is an ongoing investigation into hybrid identity, particularly in relation to race, religion, and sexuality. Adams presents an eclectic and multi-sensory large-scale   installation, bringing   together   aspects of sculpture, textiles, found objects, furniture and performance to create an immersive environment.

Image: Detail of artwork by Igshaan Adams, The Path of the Upright, (2017), beads, rope twine, dye



JAAP JACOBS: RECENT WORK (Schreiner Gallery)

These two exhibitions, or installations, as perhaps they should more accurately be viewed, display much in common, as the artists grapple with the complex issue of their own sense of identity, and the construction of significance from their backgrounds and experiences of cultural, racial, religious and sexual orientation. How the various, disparate, everyday materials, perceptions and interpretations of life’s encounters, are brought together to weave a rich tapestry which fosters our search for meaning. Spaces and experiences become significant, even sanctified, by how we choose to interact with them.

Paul Klee, teacher at the Bauhaus school from 1920 to 1933, crucially claimed: “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather it makes visible.”

This prompts us not to expect art simply to mirror what is seen, but to recognise that the true artist will penetrate beneath the surface of the viewed experience, unveiling a deeper essence or alternative perception in what she or he creates.

Such a vision comes very close to the experience of the religious mystic; one who experiences a direct awareness of a potency invisible to the eye, pervading all life. Seeking an encounter with something mysterious, a reality greater than the sum of its parts, capable of generating moments of self-transcendence. 

Mysticism also tends to focus on religious tolerance and empathy, rather than the observance of dogma.

Some would claim that the depth of the common is the holy; hallowed, worthy of reverence. The divisions often claimed between sacred and profane, natural and supernatural, dissolve, and the entire natural world is experienced as infused with vitality. 

The mystic Meister Eckhart expressed this insight that “all blades of grass, wood and stone, all things are One.” 

Also encapsulated by William Blake: “To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower...” 

Igshaan Adams’ experience of Sufi mysticism is hinted at in his inclusion of the rope, and the cotton twine weavings – symbolising the unifying web of life, overcoming barriers, encouraging tolerance, interlinking all aspects of experience; the apparently insignificant, broken pieces of linoleum and vinyl with their colourful geometric and swirling patterns, redolent of the simple essentials of family life - metamorphosed into a new, rich mosaic of unexpected, astonishing beauty. 

Dust swirling and settling, stirring old memories both soothing and raw. Choosing to incorporate these into our being. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes - the eternal cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. Dust we are, and to dust we shall return - we, too, are originally created from the natural elements, but ultimately nothing is ever lost.   

Such intimations are present in Jaap Jacobs’ piece “Summer 2018-2019” (a visual diary kept over the period) constructed from paper which was soaked in water into which the detritus of daily living such as dust, dog hairs, shavings, has penetrated - remindful of the sea change undergone by daily objects, new matter emerging out of the decomposition of the old, transformed into something dissimilar, unique and evocative. Water, contained in its ecclesiastical stoup, a sanctified vessel, the biblical river of life, symbol of death and rebirth, nurturing and cataclysmic, speaking of the awe-inspiring power of the natural world.     

Such art provides a path into fostering and expanding our capacity to appreciate and revere the smallest particular details, to find ecstasy and renewal in our response to the mystery of existence. This, in turn, is able to produce a kind cosmic consciousness, however fleeting, of being in harmony with this immense scheme, a oneness with the entire universe.

Our origins, and that of all things from the greatest to the most minuscule, reach back eons to the elements generated by the intense energy of a collapsing star. We come from star-stuff, and to stardust we return.

And so, for me, these stimulating exhibitions pose, yet again, the great questions of Who am I? and What is art? – complex and intertwined – offering illumination on our quest for meaning to our brief moments as self-aware beings in this infinite cosmos. 

June 2019

Visit the Tatham Shop for gifts, crafts, ceramics and artworks!

Forthcoming exhibitions …

Hermine Spies Coleman:
The Power of Loss and Gain
Schreiner Gallery
Opens Sunday 21 July 2019 at 11h00

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Current Exhibitions from the Collection

Migrations: Time - Place - Culture

This eclectic display of European and South African art works spans more than three centuries. Each art work has its own story to tell.

The example below is by a famous Impressionist artist, and the painting has travelled as far as Japan for major exhibitions.

Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899), The Orchard, oil on canvas

Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899), The Orchard, oil on canvas

Born in Paris of British parents, Alfred Sisley probably decided to become an artist while living in London from 1857 to 1859. He trained as an artist and worked in France. Here he developed his mature style of varied surface texture by using looser, freer and more rhythmical bush strokes, as seen in this work.

Edward Wolfe (1897-1982), Portrait of Gabrielle Soene, oil on canvas

Edward Wolfe (1897-1982), Portrait of Gabrielle Soene, oil on canvas

Edward Wolfe, although regarded as a British artist, was born in Johannesburg. He moved to London in 1916 where he studied at the Slade School of Art. In 1917 he was invited by Roger Fry to join the Omega Workshop, an arts and craft design studio. It was here that he came under the influence of the controversial Bloomsbury group. Gabrielle Soene, a French dressmaker, was an assistant at Fry’s Omega Workshop and exhibited her costumes there. Both Fry and Wolfe painted her portrait during the same sitting in 1919, a hundred years ago. Fry’s portrait is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Wolfe altered his painting, replacing the Bloomsbury interior with a landscape background.

John Nash (1893-1977), Still Life, oil on canvas

John Nash (1893-1977), Still Life, oil on canvas

This painting by John Northcote Nash, the brother of artist Paul Nash, is an example of early English Modernism. The dry application of paint is due to John Nash’s association with Harold Gilman at 19 Fitzroy Street, London, the rendezvous of a number of artists. Gilman warned Nash against mixing paint with oil. “There’s enough oil in the paint anyhow,” he said, “without adding more to the treacherous stuff.”

  • Perimeter Gallery

Containers for Liquid

This display is a juxtaposition of liquid-holding containers from the Gallery’s permanent collection, which represents different cultures, purposes, designs and materials.

R. Lalique, Baizes Vase, glass

R. Lalique, Baizes Vase, glass

Porcelain originated in the East and has been widely used to hold hot liquids. René Lalique (1860-1945) was a famous French designer of glass containers, often used as vases. The Nala and Magwaza families are renowned for their exquisitely decorated burnished earthenware forms, based on traditional Zulu beer vessels.

Bonisiwe Magwaza, Ukhamba, earthenware

On show are vessels made from materials as diverse as earthenware, porcelain, glass, wood, and bronze. We challenge you as the viewer to compare the various forms and functions.

Limoges, 19th Century Teacups, porcelain

Limoges, 19th Century Teacups, porcelain

The delicate Limoges cups and saucers arrived at the Tatham Art Gallery between 1923 and 1926 as part of the valuable Whitwell collection. This French town is famous for its fine 19th Century porcelain.

Matrinah Jiyane, Ardmore Teapot, ceramic

The two coffee pots on the exhibition are both examples of early South African studio pottery. See if you can find all ten teapots on display including the large Ardmore teapot (above).

  • Ceramics Room


This display, selected from the Gallery’s permanent collection, features landscape paintings by South African artists. For concert goers they have become a serene background to the world-class music performed in this room. While listening, the  audience could  focus  on  a painting and ponder on the meaning of land from different perspectives. One could ask: Who painted this landscape? How has the scene changed over the years? What impact did the changes have on people’s lives?

The Diamond Bozas painting of the sugarcane lands of Zululand (below) is a rich source for such exploration.

Diamond Bozas, Brooding Hills near Melmoth, oil on board.

Diamond Bozas, Brooding Hills near Melmoth, oil on board.

Edith Picking Flowers was possibly painted in Kent. Valerie Leigh, a previous Director of the Tatham Art Gallery, wrote, “The prominent feature in this painting is the cliff. The inclusion of Edith in this painting has a special poignancy. The small figure is placed near the cliff which provides a sunny, flower-filled setting, emphasizing the figure’s femininity, vulnerability and mortality.”

This English landscape forms part of this exhibition for a special reason. It was painted by well known South African artist Bertha King Everard. Bertha and her sister Edith King were both born in South Africa but lived and studied art in England before their return to South Africa early in the 20th Century.

Bertha Everard (1873 – 1965), Edith Picking Flowers (1900), oil on canvas.

Landscapes by South African artists can stir up different associations with the land for different viewers, such as elements of memory and place.

Mduduzi Xakaza, Mist at kwaMenyezwayo, oil on board

Mduduzi Xakaza, Mist at kwaMenyezwayo, oil on board

In his landscape, Mist at kwaMenyezwayo (above) , Mduduzi Xakaza depicts the richness of the mountains and hills of his birth place in Maphumulo, KwaZulu-Natal.

This was also the home of artist Vuminkosi Zulu.

When the piece was painted, Xakaza was meditating deeply about the late Vuminkosi Zulu's work, whose life was often affected by bloody skirmishes between two communities within the amaBomvu Tribal Authority of kwaMenyezwayo. At some point, in the late 1980s, Zulu had to flee his home due to such conflicts.

  • Lorna Ferguson Room

The Fabulous Picture Show

The annual fund-raising project

More than R77 000 was raised at the recent auction. Visit www.fotag.co.za for the results and images that were auctioned Friday 23 November at ‘The Fabulous Picture Show 2018’. See www.fotag.co.za for details on 2019’s edition!

Artist Siyabonga Sihosana with his donations to The Fabulous Picture Show (2016).

Artist Siyabonga Sihosana with his donations to The Fabulous Picture Show (2016).

Film Club

Lecture Theatre
Tuesdays at 19h00
Season Two: 04 June to 06 August 2019

At 19h00 on Tuesdays, lovers of good movies come togeth- er for film screenings, selected, introduced and shown by Anton van der Hoven and Jill Arnott. FilmClub aims to fos- ter an understanding for and appreciation of cinema as art form, and charges a nominal R40 per show, with subscribers enjoying a substantial discount. From 18h00 patrons can enjoy a light, inexpensive supper in Café Tatham. Booking  is essential.

Enquiries/Bookings antonvdhoven@gmail.com or 033 343 1355/083 233 2662

Lectures, Talks and Workshops

From time to time the Gallery arranges lectures, talks and creative workshops or master classes for artists by highly skilled teachers and speakers. Please contact Reena to add your name to the list of interested participants, and she will let you know when the next opportunity arrives or join the FOTAG email list Enquiries/ Bookings reena.bhoodram@msunduzi.gov.za or 033 392 2823

Discussions (Open to the public)

  • On Friday 21 June 2019 from 11h00 - 12h00 the KZN Fibre Group will discuss the Standard Bank Exhibition

  • On Friday 28 June 2019 from 14h00 - 15h00 Jaap Jacobs will discuss Creative Art Making


Jaap Jacobs: Creative Art Making - 3 day workshop Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 2 to 4 July 2019 (09h30 - 12h30). Cost: R150 per artist per day

Hermine Spies: Over-drawing in search of identity and significance - 2 day workshop
Tuesdays 7 and 21 August (09h30 - 12h30). Cost: R150 per artist per day

reena.bhoodram@msunduzi.gov.za or 033 392 2823

Images from the recent ‘Bin Painting Project’ led by Jono Hornby.

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Tatham Reference Library

The Library remains closed to the public until further notice


Ekkehard Hans at work

Ekkehard Hans at work

After the Flood: Film and Talk
Tuesday 14 May
Lecture Theatre
Booking- Essential, as space is limited
Coffee Shop: Open until 17h30

Almost two years ago, on 26 May 2017, the Tatham Art Gallery experienced a devastating flood which damaged a substantial number of paintings in our collection. Many friends of the Gallery came forward to help turn around this tragedy, and today we can look back on a remarkable rescue and recovery operation. You are invited to an overview of the events in the form of a documentary film and an illustrated talk by the painting restorer, Ekkehard Hans.

17h30 Closed because of the Flood, a documentary film by Gabriel and Thomas Bullen. 24 min
Brothers Gabriel and Thomas Bullen, who happened to be in Pietermaritzburg at that time, documented the events and called the film Closed because of the Flood. The cameras caught the action of the moment, but the film makers also returned to capture elements of the restoration process. This film was selected as the opening film for the 2019 Milkbusch International Short Film Festival earlier this year.

18h00 Restoration, an illustrated talk by Ekkehard Hans. 45 min.
Ekkehard Hans, who is a highly trained restorer, originally from Europe, has been working for weeks at a time on the restoration of paintings and frames ever since the flood in May 2017. He will give an illustrated talk about his work, and give insight into the guiding principles for a restorer of museum collections.

Entry to the film and talk is free, but booking is essential, as the venue has limited space.
To book, please contact Reena Bhoodram at reena.bhoodram@msunduzi.gov.za or 033 392 2823

A painting showing water damage : L- R images 1 & 2, After restoration: images 3&4.


Find out more about your possible experience at the Tatham! Go to VISIT!