William Stewart Ainslie

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Biographical information



First name: 
Middle name: 
Last name: 
Date of birth: 
10 April 1934
Location of birth: 
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Date of death: 
Location of death: 
Johannesburg, South Africa

William Stewart (Bill) Ainslie was born on 10 April 1934 in Bedford (Eastern Cape). Studied at the university of Natal, Pietermartizburg (BA) 1952-1955 and (BA Hons Fine Arts) under Jack Heath 1955-1958.

On completion of his studies he taught at Michael house, a school in KwaZulu Natal. He also taught art at Cyrene Mission (African Art Centre) in Southern Rhodesia and King Edward VII School in Johannesburg.

In 1964 he established Bill Ainslie Studios in a house rented from the Johannesburg City Council. Bill Ainslie was better known as a graphic artist than a sculptor, his sculptures are therfore rare. In the 1980’s Bill founded the Federated Union of Black Artists in Johannesburg. He died in Johannesburg in 1989.

Curriculum Vitae


1964: Adier Fielding Galleries, Johannesburg (solo).

1965: DAM (Art SA Today).

1968: Goodman Gallery (solo).

1961966: Adier Fielding Galleries Johannesburg (solo). Pretoria (Festival Exhibition).

1967: DAM (Art SA Today).

9: Penwith Society Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall, UK (group). DAM (Art SA Today),

1970: De Sfinx Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland (solo).

1971: Goodman Gallery (solo).

1972: SAAA, Pretoria (solo).

1973: SAAA, Pretoria (solo).

1975: DAM (Art SA Today).

1978: Akis 101, Johannesburg (group).

1983: Milner Park Johannesburg (SA contemporary art).

1984: Goodman Gallery (solo).

1985: Triangle Workshop, Pine Plains, New York, USA (group).

1986: Goodman Gallery (solo).

1987: JAG(Vita Art Now).

Johannesburg Art Foundation; NSA, Durban; National Museum and Art Gallery, Gaborone, Botswana (Thupelo Workshop Exhibition).

1988: JAG (Vita An Now).

National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (Pachepamwe Workshop Exhibition).


1965: An SA Today (Cambridge Shin award).

1967: An SA Today (Hajee Suliman Ebrahim Memorial Trust award).

1975: An SA Today (award ”” Clement Greenberg adjudicator).


Mural for the dining room at the Wentwonh Residence, Medical School, UN, Durban.


Chase Manhattan Bank, Johannesburg and New York, USA; DAM; JAG; Johannesburg An Foundation; Mobil, Cape Town and New York, USA; PAM; Premier Milling, Johannesburg; SANG; WITS.

• Anon, 'Obituary for William Stewart "Bill" Ainslie (1999'), [online], Available at: remembered.co.za [Accessed: 9 January 2015]

Last updated : 06-Mar-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011

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