Dar to Dunoon: Modern African Art from the Argyll Collection

21 May – 13 June 2021, Dunoon Burgh Hall, Dunoon, Argyll, UK.

Dar to Dunoon: Modern African Art from the Argyll Collection showcased twelve works of modern art from East and South Africa, made in the 1960s and 70s.

The works were purchased by the writer Naomi Mitchison for the Argyll Collection, a public art resource, created for the education and enjoyment of communities in Argyll and Bute, on the west coast of Scotland. The collection consists mostly of works of Scottish art, but the twelve works of art that Mitchison bought in Kampala, Nairobi, Lusaka and Dar es Salaam represent a significant addition. Varied in form and content, they provide exciting insights into the interests and priorities of artists in East and Southern Africa during the first decade of political independence.

On display were paintings by important African modern artists, including Tanzania’s Samuel Ntiro, Uganda’s Jak Katarikawe and Zambia’s Henry Tayali, alongside new research on each work. The exhibition took its title from one of the archival discoveries: a letter sent by the artist Samuel Ntiro, from Dar es Salaam to the Argyll County Council offices in Dunoon in 1967, accompanying the painting, Chopping Wood, that Mitchison had bought from him in Tanzania.

The exhibition was curated by Dr. Kate Cowcher (Lecturer in Art History, University of St Andrews), with Madeleine Conn (Cultural Coordinator, Argyll and Bute Council). It was be accompanied by a podcast series, which you can access here.

This exhibition was part of a collaboration between Argyll and Bute Council and the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews. Financial support for the exhibition was provided by the KE and Impact Fund at the University of St Andrews.

Click here to enjoy the ‘Dar to Dunoon’ playlist!

Photographs from Dunoon Burgh Hall

Click here to read about the Research Project or here to explore the map.