Print in the spotlight: Impressions of Rorke’s Drift

  • Posted: Jul 15, 2014

Iziko South African National Gallery, 23 Julyuntil 2 November 2014

Iziko Museums of South Africa will host an exhibition entitled: Impressions of Rorke’s Drift - The Jumuna Collection at the Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG) from 23 July until 2 November 2014.

Curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe, the exhibition includes over 100 works (comprising mainly prints) from 17 artists, who studied atthe renowned Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre (known as Rorke’s Drift)in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In conversation with those of the Jumuna Collectionare artworks drawn from ISANG’s Permanent Collection.

The centre operated for a mere 20 years (1962—1982), but had a major impact on South African contemporary art. Some of the country’s most influential artists emerged from Rorke’s Drift, includingSam Nhlengethwa, Pat Mautloa, John Muafangejo, Kay Hassan, Dumisani Mabaso, Bongiwe Dhlomo, Azaria Mbatha, Paul Sibisi, Lionel Davis and Sandile Zulu, among others. No complete archive of the phenomenal output of the centre’s artists exists outside of this collection, making it invaluable to the art world.

The Jumuna family have been collecting artworks virtually since the start of the centre in 1962. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Jumuna family’s private collection. Impressions of Rorke’s Driftoffers the chance to see a substantial body of work characterising the Rorke’s Drift legacy, with a view to stimulating discussion on the impact and importance that printing has had on South African art.

“As we celebrate 20 years of democracy, showcasing our artistic and cultural heritage is an important narrative to share. Museums play a key role in development through education and democratisation, while also serving as witnesses of the past; and are guardians of humanity’s treasures for future generations of not only this country, but the world. South Africans from all walks of life have a responsibility to respect and acknowledge the past, celebrate the present and build the future together. It is an honour for Iziko Museums of South Africa to host this exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery,” says Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko.

ISANG showed an early interest in the Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre, with works by several Rorke’s Drift artists entering the Permanent Collection in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Subsequent acquisitions and bequests have contributed to what is today a significant collection of prints by artists associated with the centre. The curatorial selection here celebrates the work of four key artists: Azaria Mbatha, Eric Mbatha, Dan Rakgoathe and Cyprian Shilakoe.

 “The importance of print rests on its multiplicity: an accessible creative form for art and artists, economic viability and affordability, and reproducibility for circulation to a wider audience. Significantly too, print has a provocative expression when treated imaginatively and skilfully; and these are some of the qualities most evident in the works of black artists from Rorke’s Drift. In fact, the work produced through the Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre is testimony to the legacy made possible by artistic works of black South African artists – most of whom are yet to be recognised, celebrated and rewarded, not to mention researched and taught in our educational syllabi from primary to secondary to tertiary level,”says curator, Thembinkosi Goniwe.

This exhibition was made possible by sponsorship from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. Itarrives in Cape Town off the back of successful showings at the Durban Art Gallery, Museum Africa in Johannesburg, and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

For more information, visit  For more information on Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre, visit

For enquiries, contact Gilly Hemphill at The Famous Idea Trading at Tel: 011 446 7061; Cell: 082 820 8584or Email: Alternative contact: Lebo Mdlankomo on


Issued by: Lee-Shay Collison
Department of Institutional Advancement, Iziko Museums of South Africa
Telephone +27 (0) 21 481 3861                                   Facsimile +27 (0) 21 461 9620
Cell: 073 585 9843                                                     E-mail:

On behalf of:     Office of the CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa

About Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko)

Iziko operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium, the Social History Centre and three collection‑specific libraries in Cape Town.  The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage.  Iziko is a public entity and non-profit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure.  The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope and Planetarium). Visit our webpage at, join our online community on Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions.

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