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Current Exhibitions

View Remembering the SS Mendi Remembering the SS Mendi
20 February 2017 TO 08 June 2017

On the 100th year anniversary of the tragic sinking of the SS Mendi, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum will open an exhibition of over 200 sketches culminating in an oil triptych produced by local Eastern Cape artist Hillary Graham. This remarkable work reimagines the tragic event in vast series of tableaus depicting the brave men of 5th Battalion the South African Native Labour Corps who died in this nautical disaster.

The Mendi installation was produced by Graham over a five year period from 1987 and was first exhibited in 1993 at the National Art’s Festival held in Grahamstown. The Art Museum loaned the exhibition in 1994 and purchased the work for the permanent collection in 1995. 

Remembering the tragic loss of life when the SS Mendi sank has become a rallying point in Post-Apartheid South African to recover the lost history of black soldiers and the role these men played in World War One. Of the many South Africans soldiers who perished on this night, the majority were black South Africans troops heading for the front lines of the First World War in supportive positions. Graham was initially inspired to investigate this tragic event through the research of historian Norman Clothier who helped bring attention to this event through his book Black Valor published in 1987. 

 This installation of paintings and drawings forms part of the Art Museum's Permanent Collection.

 The exhibition opening will be held on the 21 February 2017 and other public events have also been arranged, for more details, see under events.

View The power of drawing The power of drawing
21 February 2017 TO 30 June 2017
We all doodle, in meetings, while on the phone or when we are stuck on a question or assignment.   For artists this doodling or drawing is a critical part of the creative process.   Sketching and drawing are considered the primary medium through which artists develop their ideas and techniques.    

Unlike sculpture or oil painting, drawing is immediate and means that an artist can connect eye, hand and mind in an instant process which helps them generate ideas and the form that those ideas are going to take. This exhibition displays both complete and preparatory drawings by William Kentridge, Penny Siopis, Hillary Graham and Fred Page. 

From the Art Museum’s permanent collection.

View Art Museum is a meeting place Art Museum is a meeting place
21 May 2017 TO 11 August 2017
The exhibition pays tribute to the role of the art museum as a conduit for people, art and ideas to meet. Artworks are from the Art Museum’s permanent collection.

Contact Details

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum

1 Park Drive, Port Elizabeth, 6001, South Africa
+27 (0)41 506 2000 / Fax: +27 (0)41 586 3234
Please address all correspondence to the Director.

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