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Creative spirits …

With beautiful, locally-sourced artworks adorning the walls and trendy items of clothing hanging on the rails, we thought you might like to know a little more about this cool new spot, tucked away in Umhlali.

They are a group of kindred, creative spirits who have come together to form a space for artists, designers and pretty much anyone who has the courage to put themselves out there and create something.
The Dala Art Bar, situated at Burnedale in Umhlali, is, by day, a pop-up type shop featuring local South African talent in the form of artwork and clothing and, by night, a vibey outdoor bar and place to come together and enjoy good food, music and chilled, laid back vibes.

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Started by Gustaf Swart, Anthony Yared, Claire Howell and Caleb Swanepoel, the vision for Dala has evolved over the past few months and what was originally going to be a ‘book and pizza’ hangout, has now become this ever-changing creative hub.

“We want this to be a space where we can celebrate art, clothing and people who are brave enough to create,” says Gustaf, who studied Geomatics at UCT and was a cartoonist for the varsity newspaper.

Fashion designer Claire, who heads up the fashion side of Dala, says the ultimate goal is to uplift and give creatives a platform from which they can hopefully connect and grow. The art and clothing in the store are sourced locally and they change on a monthly basis. They are also starting to introduce locally-made jewellery and other items.
“It’s more about forming relationships, building connections and helping each other out than it is about competing or trying to make money,” says Claire.

Having all been involved in events in one way or another in their lives, the group have also started hosting their own Dala events in the beautiful gardens at Burnedale. The ‘outdoor bar’ is the perfect setting for socially-distanced mingling with delicious food, good music and a dance floor always on the lineup! “The art is a big part of these events,” says Claire, “people can buy items on the evenings as well.” Apart from these events, they will also be hosting regular ladies and singles night get-togethers.

While they are currently keeping the items in store quite local, the Dala team say they are looking forward to expanding their offering with items from other South African and African artists and designers.
“We’ve already been approached by quite a few artists and we really want more people to come forward and show us their work. Artists often tend to be slightly introverted and not keen to ‘show off’ their work, which means they struggle to put a value to it. This is a great way for them to get exposure,” says Gustaf.

The Dala Art Bar team would like to encourage local artists and fashion designers to make contact with them. Details: FB: dalaartbar; IG: @dala_art_bar

Text: Leah Shone

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