Cape Town is arguably the creative capital of South Africa. The city’s creative energy has over the years created a nurturing environment that continues to draw artists and creatives of all kinds to its shores. It’s no surprise then, that Cape Town boasts an incredible wealth of galleries in which to view work spanning a multitude of genres by…
If you have an afternoon to spare, visit some of the dozens of fabulous art galleries on this Cape Tourism list.
The Iziko South African National Gallery outstanding collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art. Selections from the Permanent Collection change regularly and include paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and architecture. This programme is complemented by a range of temporary visiting exhibitions.
Or, just for fun, you could combine a wine-tasting outing with a visit to the permanent Art at Constantia exhibition at the picturesque Groot Constantia Wine Estate, to browse a range of local and emerging South African artists’ work.
Some public art can be touched and some is performed. Here is a selection of the city’s most visible public art projects and areas:
Seapoint promenade – art54 project: Strolling along the promenade you can see extraordinary sculptures, murals and photographic installations created by local artists. These artworks form part of a pilot ward project that was started to support art and artists in public spaces. Note: this is a temporary installation.
- QUICK STAT: Over 1,200 unique visitors viewed the art54 website, 90 entries from artists were received, 25 works were selected and, to date, eight projects have been implemented.
- MyCiTi bus stations: Local artists were invited to enter designs to be chosen for the first thirteen MyCiTi bus stations built across the city. The artists were challenged to create artworks that would improve the overall look of the stations, catch the eyes of busy travellers and remain interesting to people walking past the artwork, daily. Artworks ranged from murals to mosaics and printed photographs, but each one had to reveal something new with each deeper look.
- Langa Cultural Precinct: Established in 1923, Langa is the oldest of Cape Town’s former townships. Keep an eye open for the artworks that have been created in public spaces throughout the area. One of the most visible is the Langa logo mural on both Bhunga Avenue and Jakes Gerwel drive.Other vibrant murals have been created through the collaborative ‘Icons of Langa Mural Project’. This project celebrates individuals, ideas and concepts unique or important to Langa. If you are walking on Bhunga avenue, stop and have a rest and take in the detail on one of the six mosaic benches recently created there.
Woodstock arts precinct: Woodstock has, in the past five to ten years, given birth to a thriving arts community. With a number of prominent galleries and a design market in the area, the area attracts large amounts of visitors and artists. Many of these artists choose to make public art and are inspired by the Salt River and Woodstock communities.If you wander through Woodstock you can see a number of different murals and graffiti artworks honouring the families and individuals who live there, as well as our shared social and political history.
- Civic Centre and Thibault Square: Outside the Civic Centre, there is a red sculpture – one of the highest sculptures in South Africa, reaching almost 9 metres. It is made of industrial sections of cast steel that were cut, welded, bent and refitted to produce an abstract form. Some people call it the ‘bent paper clip’ but its real name is ‘The Knot’ and it was created by Edoardo Villa in 1981; it is meant to symbolise the unity of all the sculptures on the landing in front of the Civic Centre. Thibault Square houses the ‘Mythological Landscape’ by Cecil Skotnes – a multi-armed metal dedication to our diverse nation. Erected just as South Africa was becoming a democracy, this sculpture is one of the most fascinating and creative sculptures in the city. Be sure to visit it.
- St George’s Mall is a busy walkway running from Wale Street down to Adderley Street, and connects a number of different blocks of shops, offices and residential suites. Along the mall, you can see sculptures like Brett Murray’s controversial ‘Africa’ which questions how we understand African identity; further up, on the corner of Shortmarket Street and St George’s Mall, you will see the intriguing ‘Come to Pass’ sculpture, made out of brass and glass and shaped like a compass, clock or cross. It lies on the ground and speaks about the various ways we understand history.
- Busking and performance art can be found in some of Cape Town’s busiest environments and areas popular with tourists. Hotspots include:
– Outside the South African National Gallery in the company’s garden
– Along government avenue, the cobbled walkway which connects Wale street and Orange street
– Long street, in the CBD, is also famous for its public performances
– The city centre: near Greenmarket Square and along St George’s mall, you will find dancers and musicians on most days of the week
Source: City of Cape Town