Current Exhibitions …

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

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

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.

Jaap Jacobs, Postcards for my Mother, mixed media

Jaap Jacobs, Postcards for my Mother, mixed media

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.

Enquiries/Bookings or 033 392 2823 or 033 392 2811 03 033 392 2819


Forthcoming exhibitions …

Roy Starke (1954 - 2018), Labyrinth of Solitude, fabric

BIG: Large Works from our Permanent Collection

Main Gallery
Opens Friday 02 August 2019 at 09h00 Closes Sunday 10 November 2019 at 17h00

This exhibition, a selection of large South African art works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, was displayed recently and drew much comment from visitors. Some of these works are too large for our store rooms, and are stacked in passages. We are giving them air once again to speak their powerful messages. During the process of selection we came across surprising juxtapositions, and the exhibition gathered a momentum of its own. Visitors are challenged to find their own meaning and context in the display.


Hermine Spies Coleman, Henge of Stone in Time, oil on canvas

Hermine Spies Coleman: The Power of Loss and Gain Schreiner Gallery

Opens Sunday 21 July 2019 at 11h00
Closes Sunday 15 September 2019 at 17h00

The artist has drawn and painted over existing paintings, obliterating segments. This takes courage, as one does lose what is held as precious; however, in the process one may gain a new image with fresh meaning. It is discovery, but not without the discomfort of losing and letting go.  Life is like  that: destruction in the process  of continually shaping the significance of the whole, a process symbolic of loss and gain. The artist will conduct two workshops, on Wednesdays 07 and 21 August. Between these times the artists will take turns to work on a collaborative art work in the Gallery to explore over-drawing in search of meaning.

Enquiries/Bookings or 033 392 2823 or 033 392 2811


Current Exhibitions from the Collection

Time - Place - Culture

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

Still Life with Omega Flowers (1919), by the English artist Roger Fry, was purchased in London for the Gallery’s collection in 1985. This painting extends the Gallery’s collection of British Post-Impressionist art works.

Between 1908 and 1912 the British artist, William Orpen, and his family spent their summers at Howth, a village just north of Dublin in Ireland. Howth Head offers spectacular views over the Irish Sea. A bell tent would be erected for shelter and it was here that Orpen started painting in the open air. He developed a distinctive plein-air style that featured figures composed of touches of colour with no drawn outline, influenced by the French Impressionists. In the Tent, Howth of 1912 is one of a series of paintings from this period.

William Orpen, In the Tent, Howth (1912)

William Orpen, In the Tent, Howth (1912)

The oldest and largest painting in this exhibition was painted by the Dutch artist, Jan Wijnants,  in about 1670 ((below) Jan Wijnants, Wooded Landscape (c.1670), oil on canvas). The painting migrated back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean a number of times.

In the early twentieth century a Mr Berlein from Johannesburg bought the painting at an auction in Paris for his wife. In about 1970 the painting was sold to Mrs Joice Nicholson. She sent the painting overseas for the December 1978 auction at Christies in London.  It did not realize the expected price, and was sent back to the Nicholsons at St Michaels-on-Sea, Natal. In 1983 Mr Nicholson donated the painting to the Tatham Art Gallery in memory of his deceased wife.


Judith Mason Attwood’s powerful mixed media triptych, From the Tombs of the Pharaohs of Jo’burg (1986), is a recent addition to this exhibition. According to the artist, the subject matter is meant to be neither an anti- capitalist nor pro-industrial monument. The assemblage symbolises a variety of men from Zulu to San who sought work on the Reef, with the gilded Tiger-fish of progress devouring the pastoral buck.

  • Perimeter Gallery

Judith Mason Attwood, From the Tombs of the Pharaohs of Jo’burg (1986), mixed media triptych.

The South African Landscape

This display, selected from the Gallery’s permanent collection, features landscape paintings by South African artists.  Any two or more paintings in this display invite comparison and discussion.

The paintings are as varied as the South African Landscape, and show many different ways in which artists engage with their environment.  To a greater or lesser degree, all of them deal with abstraction. Some images are easily readable as particular places while others merely suggest space.  All retain an abiding respect for the two-dimensionality of the painted surface.

Landscape is used as a springboard for diverse personal exploration.  There are challenges of suggesting spaces with marks and colour; engaging the viewer in experiencing particular weather conditions and landscape formations; and inviting consideration of environmental issues.  Many of the paintings depict people, sometimes starkly visible and at other times almost dissolved in the landscape.

Human figures are often completely absent from landscape paintings. When they do appear, they are often dominated by their surroundings. Figures can play various roles to enforce the artist’s view of the rural or urban environment. Images can range from detailed observation to simplification or even distortion, often to enhance a mood or express feelings. You are invited to ponder the depiction of figures in the paintings in the display.

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957) is considered the iconic painter of the South African Landscape. Of Dutch parentage, he was born in South Africa but also spent time living in Europe, where he came into contact with broader contemporary ideas about art making. The work of Dutch artist and theorist Willem van Konijnenburg inspired Pierneef to greater abstraction of nature.

Pierneef spent most of his life in the Transvaal, but travelled widely around South Africa and Namibia. In 1951 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Natal.

  • Lorna Ferguson Room

J H Pierneef, Untitled (1951), oil on canvas

J H Pierneef, Untitled (1951), oil on canvas


Vessels and Containers

Part of the current display is a historic overview of 20th century South African commercial potteries. These potteries, of which few still operate, played an important part in South African society between the two World Wars. Viewers interested in the history of design will find a fascinating fusion of European and African influences. 

On the right hand side as you enter, ceramics from a number of historical South African commercial studios are displayed in chronological order. Information about these studios is posted on the inner walls of the cabinets. Look out for indigenous imagery that contextualizes these South African ceramics.

On the left hand side of the room you will see hand-made ceramic vessels by well-known individual South African artists. Note that some male potters were influenced by traditional female Zulu potters.

  • Ceramics Room

Containers for Liquid

Ceramics Room
Opens Thursday 01 March 2018

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

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.

R. Lalique, Baizes Vase, glass

R. Lalique, Baizes Vase, glass

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.

These 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.

  • Ceramics Room

  Limoges, 19th Century Teacups, porcelain

Schreiner Gallery


The Schreiner Gallery in the Tatham Art Gallery is a temporary exhibition space for artists and groups working primarily in the Msunduzi region. Artists are invited to make portfolio submissions for exhibitions from May 2020 . These exhibitions are accompanied by walkabouts, workshops, or artist-in-residence programmes.

Portfolios are submitted to the Gallery’s Exhibitions Committee for consideration, and need to include the following: 

  • A proposed title and motivation for the exhibition

  • A brief CV of the participating artist/s or curator

  • At least three original examples of work must be submitted

  • Terms and conditions, proposal forms, and checklist can be found here

  • Deadline for submissions 12 July 2019 at 16h00.

Enquiries or 033 392 2819 (except Mondays) or  033 392 2811 or 033 392 2823

More information can be obtained with the  application form.

Previously in 2019 ...

KZN Midlands Matric Art 2019


Main Gallery
Opens Wednesday 06 March 2019 Opening speaker: Brendan Bell Closes Sunday 26 May 2019

The KZN Midlands Matric Art  exhibition  will  take  place earlier than usual this year. The exhibition is a combination of the best art works from the previous year, produced in about 18 schools in and around Pietermaritzburg that teach art for Matric, and includes a school for the deaf.

This exhibition is one of the Gallery’s annual highlights. It always produces fascinating ideas and new methods from our young artists. Most of the works are pre- selected at the end of the previous year, when education staff go around to the different schools to see their Matric works on display. The final selection is made by an external selector.

Enquiries/Bookings or 033 392 2811

Siyabonga Ngubane, Untitled, linoprint

Siyabonga Ngubane, Untitled, linoprint

Siyabonga Ngubane, Untitled, linoprint

Musa Mtshali, The Tshwala Drinker, wood

Siyabonga Ngubane:
The Suffering of the People

Schreiner Gallery
Opens Sunday 31 March 2019
Closes Sunday 19 May 2019

Siyabonga Ngubane is a young artist who is passionate about making linoprints. He draws directly onto  the lino and then carves out intricate designs in different textures. He is a quiet person who thinks deeply about life, and is interested in people and their reactions. He is also grateful to his mother and grandmother who taught him good values in life. They are both deeply religious supporters of the Christian faith. However, Siyabonga is tolerant of all religions, and other religious groups, such as Muslims, Zionists, Shembe, Buddhists, etc , are also represented in his work.

Siyabonga will be artist-in-residence from Tuesday 09 to Friday 12 April 2019. He will also conduct two workshops on Tuesdays 07 & 14 May 2019 where he will share his printmaking skills and show participants that Linocut is an easy-to-learn method for making prints that requires only a small amount of space and just a few tools and materials. Once you've learned the basics you can easily do this at home. Join this fun printing workshop.

Contact Reena Bhoodram for more information. or 033 392 2823

The Schreiner Collection:
A Recent Bequest

Schreiner Gallery
From Friday 01 February 2019
Closes Sunday 24 March 2019

This exhibition honours the legacy of Deneys and Else Schreiner, who were staunch supporters of the arts. The Schreiner Gallery was named after them many years ago. Following Else’s death in August 2018, the Gallery received thirty two art works from their collection as a bequest, some of which are on display here.

Else said there were no decisive factors in their collecting habits, apart from fun. They often bought items because they were beautiful, affordable or made them laugh. Scattered throughout the house were portraits, etchings, watercolours, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and weavings. Each piece had a story, but their collection wasn’t planned.

Ntombi Nala, Uphiso, earthenware

Ntombi Nala, Uphiso, earthenware

BIG: Large works from our Permanent Collection
Main Gallery
From Friday 7 December to Sunday 17 February 2019

A new exhibition, selected from the largest works in the Gallery’s permanent collection, will be on display in the Main Gallery from Friday 7 December. There will be no official opening. 

Some of these works are too large for our store rooms and spend their days stacked in passages. It is time to give them air and let them speak their powerful messages. 

As we were looking at size in the first place, we did not consciously choose a theme or country of origin. During the process of selection we came across surprizing juxtapositions, and the exhibition gathered a momentum of its own. Visitors are challenged to find their own meaning and context in this display. The exhibition will run over the Christmas period, and end on 17 February 2019.

Previously in 2018 ...

Above: Sibusiso Mvelase, The Messenger, linocut print

Above: Sibusiso Mvelase, The Messenger, linocut print

Muzi Ndlela and Sibusiso Mvelase:
Akulahlwa mbeleko ngakufelwa (Don’t despair in adversity)
Schreiner Gallery
Opens Sunday 14 October 2018 at 11h00
Closes Sunday 25 November 2018 at 17h00

This exhibition presents a collaboration between Muzi Ndlela and Sibusiso Mvelase, who both had the unique opportunity of attending a special art course at the University of KwaZulu-Natal this year. Their themes revolve around ancestral beliefs. 

The artists are proud to showcase these recent works after being introduced to various elements in art making including art theory at the Centre for Visual Art in Pietermaritzburg.They will be artists-in-residence fromTuesday 16 to Friday 19 October 2018.

Contact Pinky Nkabinde for more or 033 392 2811

Above: Muzi Ndlela, Haunted Home, pastel on paper

Above: Muzi Ndlela, Haunted Home, pastel on paper

Valerie Leigh, Jug with Spring Flowers (1966), oil on canvas

Valerie Leigh, Jug with Spring Flowers (1966), oil on canvas

Honouring Valerie Leigh

Schreiner Gallery
Opens Sunday 4 February 2018 at 11h30
Closes Sunday 18 March 2018 at 17h00

Valerie Leigh was Curator of the Tatham Art Gallery between 1967 and 1974. Her major contribution was  expanding the permanent collection with acquisitions of art works, including ceramics, by South African artists.  She later worked as a curator at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town. As Art Co-ordinator for the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Museum Service between 1984 and 1997, she actively promoted the work of marginalised artists and crafters in the province. Dr Leigh is an artist in her own right. This exhibition comprises works by Valerie Leigh in the Gallery’s permanent collection.

A stamp from 1982 showing the Old Legislative Assembly Building

A stamp from 1982 showing the Old Legislative Assembly Building

The Philatelic History of a City

Lorna Ferguson Room
Opens Tuesday 13 February 2018 at 09h00
Closes Sunday 11 March 2018 at 17h00

This award-winning display comprises stamps, post-cards, and other philatelic memorabilia, assembled by members of the Maritzburg Philatelic Society. Various themes celebrate the history of Pietermaritzburg from the arrival of the Voortrekkers to the present day. These include war, early transport, architecture, sport and people.

School groups are warmly invited to visit this highly educational display. Bookings are preferred. 

Enquiries/Bookings or 033 392 2811 or 033 392 2823

Illustrated talks
17 February
    Michael O’Connor: The history of Pietermaritzburg Schools
10 March    Michael O’Connor : The history of Pietermaritzburg Churches


Hussein Salim: Reflections and Meditations
Schreiner Gallery
Opens Sunday 26 August 2018 at 11h00
Closes Sunday 07 October 2018 at 17h00

Hussein Salim, originally from Sudan, is a local resident and practising artist. This exhibition is a mosaic of deeply reflective and meditative acrylic paintings often on recycled paper. The artist uses colour, form, symbolism and carefully considered layering to create dynamic images that are immersed in his African and Islamic heritage.

Workshop with Hussein Salim  Tuesday 4 September and Tuesday 11 September from  09h30 to 12h30.
The artist will conduct two workshops where he will share his art making experiences and skills and show participants how to make magic with basic, inexpensive and recycled materials.

Enquiries/Bookings or 033 392 2823

Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2017:
Beth Diane Armstrong

in perpetuum

Main Exhibition Room
Opens Sunday 8 April 2018 at 11h00
Closes Sunday 20 May 2018 at 17h00

Beth Diane Armstrong, Only One Living, wire

Beth Diane Armstrong, Only One Living, wire

Beth Diane Armstrong highlights the use of sculpture to explore different expressions of density and looseness in relation to scale, structure, materiality, space, representation, and process. 

The title, in perpetuum, suggests something which is ongoing and everlasting. Armstrong applies the term  to negotiating an unremitting pull between the desire to be entirely overwhelmed and subsumed by a sculpture and the drive to resolve and contain the idiosyncratic challenges posed by it. Armstrong’s process is the translation of fleeting, abstract experiences into the permanence of a physically demanding material such as steel.

Armstrong’s mastery of the medium is captured in this body of work. It accentuates her meticulous processes, her attention to detail and her astounding ability to effortlessly switch between intricate smaller works and imposing large-scale masses.  Themes and motifs are drawn from her entire career as a sculptor and mark a full-circle return to where it began, having received her Masters in Fine Art from Rhodes University in 2010.

As a whole, in perpetuum presents  Armstrong’s work as a continuously self-generating system driven by the interplay between density and looseness.

Bronwen Findlay, Bullfinch and Weeping Cherry Tree (2018), oil on canvas

Flowers in Art: From our Collection
Schreiner Gallery
Opens Friday 30 November 2018 from 09h00
Closes Sunday 27 January 2019 at 17h00

This exhibition, drawn from the Gallery’s permanent collection, was inspired by a recent acquisition. Earlier in 2018 the Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery purchased a work by Bronwen Findlay from her exhibition in Johannesburg, for the Gallery’s collection. Bronwen is well-known for her unusual depictions of flowers in paint and prints. Other works on this exhibition include paintings and objects with flower themes from other South African and international artists.

med Paige Howland Grace College Read between the lines copy.jpg

KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Matric ArtExhibition 2018
Main Gallery
Opens Wednesday 06 June 2018 at 18h00
Closes Sunday 19 August 2018 at 17h00

The annual KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Matric Art Exhibition shows art works mainly made by the previous year’s Matric art students from local schools. Young and old enjoy this display and learn about new methods and ideas from our innovative and enthusiastic youth.

On display will be drawings, paintings, installations, prints, digital images, three-dimensional works and creations that sometimes defy traditional description. This healthy youthful search for innovation makes a visit to the exhibition an exciting experience.

Enquiries/Bookings or 033 392 2811

Spotlight on Matric Art Teachers
Schreiner Gallery
Opens Wednesday 06 June 2018 at 18h00
Closes Sunday 19 August 2018 at 17h00

This exhibition is the result of an enthusiastic response from   our   local   hard-working   Matric   Art   Teachers. Art students have  to  be  challenged, encouraged and nurtured. In many cases the art teacher becomes aware of the student’s personal struggles in life. For these teachers to find free time in order to create their work is a tough challenge, and we salute their creativity and perseverance.

Enquiries/Bookings or 033 392 2823

Five Degrees of Separation:
Terri Broll, Ian Calder, Heather Gourlay-Conyngham, Louise Hall and Terence King

Schreiner Gallery
Opens Sunday 25 March at 09h30 for 10h00
Closes Sunday 20 May 2018 at 17h00

Heather Gourlay-Conyngham - Woman in Grasslands

Heather Gourlay-Conyngham - Woman in Grasslands


The five artists featured in this exhibition are part of an ongoing local peer mentoring and discussion group. All are former students or lecturers connected to the Centre for Visual Art at the local campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The artists’ works are connected in the first instance by the immediacy of communicating via marks on a canvas or other support. The works, although based in observation, display differing degrees of realism, so as to amplify the interpretive possibilities of the subject.

Master Classes by Heather Gourlay-Conyngham
Thursdays 3, 10 & 17 May 2018 from 09h30 to 12h30

Enquiries/Bookings or 033 392 2823

Walkabout of the exhibition by the artists
Thursday 10 May 2018 from 13h00 to 14h00