It was a conversation with a friend – an architect – that spurred Angela Shaw to open a retail gallery at the Kwa-Zulu Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA), the province’s foremost contemporary art gallery.

“We were chatting and he said he needed to fly to Johannesburg to buy art for his clients. That’s just wrong,” says Shaw, operational director of the Glenwood-based space.

The new Park Contemporary Gallery will offer affordable, bespoke, original art and collectables by local art makers – respected “names” and emerging talent.

“We always had art in the shop,” explains Shaw, “but it was squished between handbags and cushions and really didn’t give the art the dignity it deserved.”

The gallery will be formally opened on August 24, but has been quietly operational for about two months. It’s already surprisingly successful, says Shaw, who is responsible for its curation.

“No one is supposed to know about this but the demand is already there,” she say.

The space is filled with an eclectic collection of styles, forms and materials – large oil-based portraits hang alongside moody black and white photographs; woodcuts, pen and ink architectural drawings and Walter Battiss reproduction prints vie for your attention; a collection of smooth pebbles covered in henna print nestles on a pedestal.

Works range from R200 to R20,000. read more