View the legendary Corobrik gallery of South African ceramics

Posted on February 28, 2023

University of Pretoria (UP) alumni are invited to return to campus to view Unspoken, an exhibition that forms part of the renowned Corobrik Gallery of more than 276 pieces of contemporary South African pottery created by  local ceramic artists since the collection first started in 1977.

Unspoken debuted in 2021 and since its official opening in 2022 has reached 31 215 art-lovers and continues to be popular. “The Corobrik Gallery remains one of the most favoured UP Hatfield campus galleries, whether or not you know anything about ceramics or ceramic art,” said Dr Sian Tiley-Nel, Head of the University of Pretoria Museums. “The gallery is there for appreciation, well-being, and discussion, and is available for research and for all to come experience a signature South African ceramic  collection through an exhibition held nowhere else at a university museum in the country.”

The bespoke invitation to alumni to view the exhibition is part of agreements between the UP Museums, Corobrik, Ceramics Southern Africa, the City of Tshwane's Pretoria Art Museum (PAM), and the UP Alumni Relations Office.

The gallery spotlights local artists or ceramicists including Henriette Ngako, Nesta Nala, Jerice Doeg, Esias Bosch, Nic Sithole, Simon Masilo, Josephine Ghesa, and Madoda Fani, among 170 other very notable artists.          

About the Corobrik Collection

This legendary ceramic art collection was started by the Association of Potters of Southern Africa in 1977, and Corobrik took over sponsorship in 1982. There were just three pieces in the first winning ceramics from national exhibitions that served as the foundation for this collection. Since then, award-winning ceramics from regional and national exhibitions are continuously added to the Corobrik Collection by Ceramics Southern Africa, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.

The Corobrik Collection was initially kept at the Tatham Gallery in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, before moving to the Sandton Art Gallery in Johannesburg in 1996. It moved again in 2001, to the Pretoria Art Museum, where it is now catalogued and stored. In order to increase public and academic access to the Corobrik Gallery, which for the first time places virtually the entirety of the Corobrik Collection – 276 works – on public display within a single gallery, the University of Pretoria and Corobrik signed a long-term lending arrangement in 2020.

The Corobrik Gallery showcases individual artists and the evolution of home studio and art ceramics, some originating from rural South African traditional potters to modern artists, over the past 50 years.

Come view the Corobrik Gallery from Mondays to Fridays between 8am and 4pm. For a unique tour of the gallery, which is located on the second floor of the Old Arts Building on the Hatfield Campus, please contact Steven Motena at the UP Museums at [email protected], or telephone +27-12-420-2178.

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