Phansi Museum Community Involvement Essay

One of the most admired contributions the Bartel Arts Trust and the Phansi Museum have made to the enrichment of the cultural life in KwaZulu Natal is the annual Art • Craft • Tradition calendar.  This annual publication, now in its 23rd year of production will be officially launched at 12:00 on Saturday, 18 November 2017 at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), 719 Umbilo Road, Durban

The 2018 Phansi Museum calendar takes a close-up look at the mosaic installations on the walls and interior of the seven-story K-RITH Tower Building on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine Campus in Umbilo, Durban.  The building is home to several biomedical research centres, including AHRI, one of South Africa’s largest independent, multidisciplinary research institutes. AHRI has some of the continent’s most advanced laboratories, where scientists work to better understand, treat and ultimately cure HIV, tuberculosis disease and related illnesses. Right next door to the building is UKZN’s school of medicine, where doctors are trained. 

It is this focus on health and the quest for cures that informed acclaimed ceramic and mosaic artist Jane du Rand’s murals. Briefed by the building’s architects in 2010 to reflect the work that happens in the building, Jane took inspiration from symbols of healing from different cultures, and looked at the structure and shape of viruses, blood cells and bacteria. Indigenous plants with medicinal and healing properties, as well as plant fractals (patterns), also form an important part of this installation.  

The artwork is split across different areas of the building. Despite being separate, each part of the artwork has been carefully designed to have a relationship and visual connection with the other through repetitive circular shapes and interconnected patterns. On the curved garden wall outside the building, the theme is indigenous medicinal plants which are labelled and contained inside large disks. Textured, three-dimensional representations of cells and viruses, together with plant fractals, make up the mosaic on the upper levels of the building and the outside wall of the parking garage. A grouping of healing mandalas greets visitors in the reception area, while a DNA strip leads up the stairwell from the ground to the seventh floor. 

Each year Phansi Museum distributes 1 000’s of calendars to schools in cities, villages and in faraway rural areas, clinics, libraries, community centers and educational institutions across the province.  This publication is awaited with much anticipation by many, both in South Africa and abroad, in rural areas.  

The 2018 Art*Craft*Tradition calendar once again pays respect to and celebrates those who have created, observed, recorded and collected the treasures the Phansi Museum continues to share with the rest of the world.  

AHRI/Phansi Schools Essay Competition 

Finally, to coincide with the launch of the calendar, Phansi Museum in collaboration with our main sponsor, Africa Health Research Institute we will launch the AHRI/Phansi Schools Essay Competition. Science, like art is about discovery.  Being a scientist at AHRI means constantly learning new things about our world, our society and about disease.  Are you curious about the world?  For the 2018 Phansi Calendar Schools Essay Competition, we are offering prizes to support study in a medical or science related field.  There will also be book prizes and a work-experience opportunity at AHRI.  

The calendars for 2018 in poster and desktop format are available from the Phansi Museum and other retail outlets.

For additional information please contact the Museum on 031-206 2889 or admin@phansi.com

Sharon Crampton | Director 

One of the most admired contributions the Bartel Arts Trust and the Phansi Museum have made to the enrichment of the cultural life in KwaZulu Natal is the annual Art • Craft • Tradition calendar.  This annual publication, now in its 22nd year of production will be officially launched on Wednesday, 7 December 2016.  Each year, the Museum distributes 1 000’s of calendars to schools in cities, villages and in faraway rural areas, clinics, libraries, community centers and educational institutions across the province.

The 2017 calendar features panels from the 1992 Universal Declaration of Rights and the 1994 Interim Bill of Rights murals painted on the surfaces of the east and south walls surrounding the former Central Prison in Durban.  Both these murals laid the foundations for the 1997 Human Rights Mural of the Final Constitution.  Just as the Rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Interim Bill of Rights inspired the drafters of the Final Bill of Rights in Chapter 2 of the South African Constitution of 1996, so the works of the artists of the 1992 and 1994 murals came to inspire the artists who painted the 1997 Human Rights mural.   

Whilst the rest of the world commemorates International Human Rights Day and the 68th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 on 10 December 2016, the Phansi Museum will celebrate the launch of the Human Rights Mural Calendar of 2017 three days earlier.  The 2017 Human Rights Mural calendar aptly also pays tribute to late Terry-Anne Stevenson, (1950 -  2016) who initiated the Community Mural Projects and who tirelessly mustered the artists in Durban including Thami Jali, Sfiso Ka Mkame, Derick Nxumalo, Zamani Makhanya, Sibusiso Duma, Lalelani Mbhele and Joseph Manana to interpret the Bill of Rights on the prison walls and transform the streets of Durban with paint.     

Finally, to coincide with the launch of the calendar and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Phansi Museum in collaboration with Community Mural Projects, the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Street Law will launch the Human Rights Art and Essay Competition for learners in Grades 7, 11 and 12.  The objective of this competition is to get learners from as many schools in KwaZulu Natal who see the calendar to illustrate their vision and understanding of our Human Rights.

The calendars for 2017 in poster and desktop format will be available from the Phansi Museum and other retail outlets from 7 December 2016.  

For additional information please contact the  Museum on 031-206 2889 or admin@phansi.com

Sharon Crampton Director   

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