I’ve always longed to visit Durban’s art galleries, however I have never actually done so due to a range of mundane excuses: too busy; don’t know a thing about art; I can’t just walk in to look, I’ll feel pressured to buy something I can’t afford. On a Saturday last November all this changed as I stepped on to the Arts Bus. I ran around telling all my friends about it and then, the Arts Bus was no more. It is back, however and so I thought that I would share my experience with you. I will be venturing off for another trip as all the exhibits in the galleries will have changed – hope to see you on the bus!

Our inimitable guide, King Zorro!

The Arts Bus is a free hop-on, hop-off city bus service that runs every Saturday morning starting at 9am from the KZNSA Gallery in Bulwer Road. Arts Bus guests are then driven around Durban in a 23-seater bus stopping at eight of the city’s finest galleries with King Zorro as the exuberant guide. 

The first stop was the home of deceased poet Laureate and author Mazisi Kunene, the site of an on-going project to catalogue and preserve his work. If you recognize Kunene’s name it is probably because he has been honoured in Durban’s recent street renaming project – King George V Avenue is now Mazisi Kunene Avenue.  The Mazisi Kunene Gallery is now a stop on the Heritage Bus route (but more about that later…)

A quick nip across Berea Road landed us at the Durban University of Technology’s gallery and exposed us to the talent of some of Durban’s finest young artists, particularly the finalists of the 89th Emma Smith Award.

Watch artists at work at the Bat Centre

The BAT Centre gave us a chance to view artists at work, whilst at the Durban Art Gallery, we were awed by works by some of South Africa’s most celebrated artists in the grand setting of the museum’s circular gallery.

The DAG's famous circular gallery

Florida Road is home to two unmissable galleries: Artisan and the African Art Centre. Artisan is a contemporary gallery owned by Sue Greenberg who is so welcoming that I felt quite annoyed with myself that I had not ventured inside before. A wonderful exhibition entitled “Horses Unleashed” by Carol Hayward Fell is on until Saturday. The African Art Centre is dedicated to local artists and specializes in handmade goods with a Christmas focus at the moment.

My favourite stop was ArtSPACE in Millar Road as it is hosting an exhibition of “Affordable Art” and I was quite captivated by the idea that I could own something by an artist such as Grace Kotze for less than R2750, which is the maximum price for pieces exhibited.

Our last stop was Kizo at Gateway. Downstairs, the gallery is dedicated to “2010 Fine Art” whilst upstairs is the aptly entitled, and moving, “Innovative Women.”

Don't miss the Arts Bus

Don’t miss this opportunity to feast your eyes on some glorious artwork. My trip on the Arts Bus was one of the most enlightening experiences I have had in ages and the best part: it’s free! They have also added a “Heritage Bus” which visits important sites in Durban’s history such as the Jumma Masjid Mosque, The Emmanuel Cathedral, the Old Court House Museum, Kwa-Muhle Museum and the Phansi Museum. I have a trip planned soon and will let you know all about it…

The Arts tours and Heritage tours run on alternate Sundays. For bookings, contact Domy Cortes on 078 161 2092 or domcortes@gmail.com. Detailed information can be found on www.pubmat.co.za.