Deryck Healey

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About the Artist

Deryck Healey was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1937. He started his career at the Natal Technical College in Durban and has been a visiting professor at The Royal College of Art in London, UK, until September 2001. Healey had one-man exhibits in London, Chicago, Venice, Wiltshire, Paris, Glasgow, Los Angeles, Edinburgh, Warwickshire and Guildford.


Deryck Healey Exhibition

Born 1937 in Durban, South Africa
Died 2004 in Durban, South Africa

artSPACE berlin

Deryck Healey was born in Durban in 1937 and rose to fame in the UK as a graphic artist and design consultant. Healey had numerous one-man exhibitions all over the world, and contributed to several international art publications. A master designer and colourist, he was, in his words, ”searching for a world consciousness through an art of concern”. He died in his home in Durban in 2004.
– Peter Machen, Durban – a paradise and its people

1955 - 1958

Manchester School of Art, England


Awarded the Queens Award to Industry, England


Royal Society of Arts Medal for Art and Design, England


Elected to the Craft Council Board, England

- 2001

Professor at The Royal College of Art, London, UK


Selected Individual Exhibitions:


“Micrographs”, artSPACE durban, Durban, SA
“Meditation Works”, artSPACE berlin, Berlin, Germany
“Deryck Healey”, Wivenhoe Gallery, UK


Drawings by Deryck Healey, artSPACE durban, Durban, SA


“The Same Sea in Us All”, The Holden Gallery, Manchester
“Beach”, Association for Visual Arts AVA, Cape Town, SA


“Objet Trouve”, NSA Gallery, Durban, SA
“Objet Trouve”, Colchester Les Livre Gallery Essex, UK
“Open Studio” Wivenhoe in Essex, UK


“The Hess Collection – New Works”, Forum d’art contemporain, Casino Luxembourg
“Back To Front” NSA Gallery, Durban, SA


“Master Class”, Koplin Gallery, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, USA
“Art of Concern”, Base Gallery, London


“Poems to My Other Self”, Koplin Gallery, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, USA
“Neon Portraits”, Galerie Claude Fain, Paris
“Beyond All Responsible Doubt”, Glasgow
“Meditation Works”, Long & Ryle Art, London


“Big Names”, Canale, Venice
“Silent Poems”, Salama-Caro Gallery, London
“Poems at Home”, Fosbury, Wiltshire


“Have I Got Your Number”, Salama.Caro Gallery, London
“Are Black Heads White”, Frankfurt Art Fair
“Windows to the Sky”, Chicago Art Fair


Selected Group Exhibitions:


Salama-Caro Gallery, London


Monotypes, College of Santa Fe, New Mexico


“The Colour Of Money”, Musèe de la Poste, Paris
Arizona State University Museum, Tempe


Salama-Caro Gallery, London


Cologne Art Fair


The Hess Collection
The Montecasino Art Collecion
The Irwin E. & Kathleen Garfield Foundation

Selected Publications:

Colour, Architectural Digest, USA
Living with Colour, Macmillians, London
Living with Colour, Rand McNally, USA
Have I Got Your Number, Salama-Caro Gallery
Big Names, Canale, Venice
Open Studio, Twin Palms Publisher, New Mexico
Wivenhoe's Hstory - Website link to article
Artsmart - Website link to article
News24 - Website link to article



Article first published 06/02/2005: 

The acclaimed Durban-based artist Deryck Healey died towards the end of last year. The following is an obituary by his close friend and colleague, well-known Durban artist Marianne Meijer:

For Deryck Healey art meant life. Art meant inspiration and ideas. His strength came from his ability to communicate his work in a positive and creative way - whether it was sculpture, drawing, or creating a design or colour – his vision was original and cut through the essentials to become meaningful.

I need to find a way through, to cut away the cynicism of our contemporary world and discover a true awareness. I am searching for a world consciousness through an art of concern.

These are words, by Deryck Healey, from his book Open Studio, which unfolds as a series of visual poems that record his journey towards a new spirituality that transcends racial, sexual and political conflicts.

The book and the many exhibitions Healey staged depict a lifetime dedicated to art making. 

Healey was born in Durban in 1937, studied fine art the Durban Tech School of Art and Design, where he was awarded the Victorian League Empire Scholarship to continue his studies overseas. Among the many awards he received were the Queen’s Award to Industry. He lectured and held major exhibitions in many countries, and set up his own design studios in Paris, New York, Sydney and London. He was a man of the world, involved in cultural and environmental projects, and became Visiting Professor of Colour at the Royal Academy. His CV is long and impressive.

In 1997 Healey settled back in Durban. Although he still traveled much, Durban became his home base. During that period he staged three exhibitions locally, and one in Cape Town, which made the art world here sit up and take notice.

He will be best remembered in Durban for his Back to Front sculpture exhibition paying homage to the ancient Kouros figures, staged at the NSA in 1998. He contacted the art school when he settled back in Durban and worked with students and lecturers from Technikon (DIT), who assisted him and became involved with his work and benefited from his creative output and expertise.

Head of Fine Art (DIT) John Roome said:

Deryck Healy was an alumnus of the art school in Durban now DIT. He studied here as a young man and then went off to make his name overseas. In 1997 he returned in order to hold an exhibition at the NSA Gallery. This project was what reunited him with his Alma Mater. It was his idea to involve a number of artists and students connected to the art department in the production. Durban art lovers will remember the way he transformed the NSA with his magical use of colour, how he filled the space with life size figures in resin and his prints and drawings done on rhino paper.

It was through the production of this paper that I came to know Deryck. He worked in my studio with some of my students.What impressed me was his playfulness and the speed with which he caught on to what was for him a new medium. His legacy will live on not only through his work but through the experiences and creative spirit he so generously shared with others.

For Healey the most important thing in his life was work, and making art was his work. Even during last year (2004), when he was already seriously ill, he made hundreds or drawings which were shown at the ArtSpaceDurban gallery in May, 2004.

His favourite artist was Picasso. Healey’s line drawing showed a similar deftness and stability of line where he transformed the ordinary and enhanced the particular. He was a man with a glittering personality able to inspire all who worked with him. His work stimulated thought and provoked reaction.

Art Collector Donald Hess, who owns many of Healey’s works, is building a museum at the Glencarlou Winery in the Cape to house his personal collection of Healey’s work for permanent display.

On April 13, 2005, a Memorial Service in Deryck Healey’s honour will be held in London’s St Bartholomew the Great Church in Spitalfield, to be followed with the opening of a minor Retrospective Exhibition at the Blue Gallery.

Bren Brophy, Independent Curator