Cape Town’s City Bowl may hold some of the most acclaimed art museums and galleries in the country, but places like the Iziko South African National Art Gallery, AVA Gallery, Johans Borman Fine Art, The New Church Museum, Erdmann Contemporary, Carmel Art and Cape Gallery do not hold the monopoly.
Art is as happening in the mother city’s southern suburbs.
That Art Fair presents a three week line-up of exhibitions and events that include a wide range of disciplines with visual art, performance art, photography, video and film and even fashion featured in the line-up.
That Art Fair, initiated by Art Africa magazine, focuses on young, unrepresented contemporary African artists. This is its second year.
7 other places to see art in the southern suburbs of Cape Town …
1. BARNARD GALLERY
This recent addition to the southern suburbs art gallery scene (2010) features regular solo exhibitions by a stable of artists, and curated group shows that include invited artists. The Barnard Galley’s sole focus is art and sculpture. With its emphasis on emerging, modern artists exhibitions celebrate the creativity painting and sculpture allow.
The modern venue in Newlands Village presents work in a variety of media. The list of emerging young artists who have exhibited include Alexia Vogel and Kirsten Lilford.
Where: 55 Main Street, Newlands
When: Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 17h00
2. CASA LABIA CULTURAL CENTRE
The distinctly Venetian looking seaside villa that looms over Main Road in Muizenberg was once the home of an Italian ambassador, Count Natale Labia. It is now a wedding and social occasions’ venue, used over weekends for lectures and other cultural events, like classical music and opera soirées.
It also houses a contemporary South African art gallery that regularly features solo and group exhibitions of both established and emerging South African fine artists. The museum and gallery are open to the public free of charge. End your visit with tea at the café.
Where: 192 Main Road, Muizenberg
When: Tuesday to Sunday form 10h00 to 16h00
3. ECLECTICA MODERN GALLERY
As the gallery’s name suggests, Eclectica Modern displays a liberal mix of paintings, sculpture and glass art by well-known South African, modern artists. The long list of artists includes Russel Travers, Bastiaan van Stenis, Peter Pharoah, Richard Scott and Lolly Hahn-Page, amongst others.
Based on the success of their antique, design and art store in Gardens, Eclectica opened this gallery in Claremont to focus exclusively on modern works or art. Their website gallery gives a good introduction to the calibre of art.
Where: Shop 2, 9 Cavendish Street, Claremont
When: 09h30 to 17h00
The best part of a visit to the Irma Stern Museum is that the collection is effortlessly manageable and just enough not to overwhelm. You can while away the better part of a morning here or you can get through, without feeling denied, in a couple of hours.
One of the most sought-after modern South African painters, Irma Stern’s incredible work is housed in her home near UCT’s Lower Campus in Rosebank, including her virtually intact studio leading out into the garden.
Her private collection of early European furniture, African and Oriental art, and the vibrant colours of her home, offset her work perfectly and present insight into her life and personality.
Where: Cecil Road, Rosebank
When: Tuesday to Friday from 10h00 to 17h00 and Saturday form 10h00 to 14h00
5. JOHANS BORMAN FINE ART
This gallery’s list of South African masters reads like a who’s who of art in the country; a wonderful alternative to the National Art Gallery if time is of the essence. The paintings, graphics and sculpture make for interesting viewing. But the gallery is not only about historical artists.
The selection of leading South African contemporary artists, whilst not as extensive, is nonetheless a good representation of today’s modern works, including the work of David Reade and Marlene von Dürkheim.
The gallery is in a house on one of the main roads of the leafy suburb of Newlands (combine this with a visit to the Barnard Gallery, just across the Liesbeek River in Main Street for a healthy dose of South African art).
Where: 16 Kildare Road, Newlands
When: Monday to Friday from 09h30 to 17h30 and Saturday from 10h00 to 13h00
6. KALK BAY MODERN
On the first floor, above the ever popular Olympia Café, is a contemporary art gallery and craft shop that regularly exhibits a selection of young talent from the South African art scene. From the gallery’s windows are gorgeous views over the Kalk Bay harbour.
The gallery is a small, but unique space in which to while away an hour or two drinking in the finer details of selected artists. The gallery’s annual Textiles and Jewellery Exhibition is a definite must, while their large collection of contemporary San art in the form of linocuts, oil paintings and colour lithographs, from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, is fascinating.
Where: Olympia Building, 136 Main Road, Kalk Bay1718
When: Monday to Sunday from 09h30 to 17h00
A wonderful space in Newlands awash with studios and art galleries, Montebello is a project supporting local artists thanks to property and a trust bequeathed by Cecil Michaelis. The art studios include Anni Hennop, Butterfly Studio, David Krut Projects and Ikwezi Art Centre, whilst ceramics studios include Catherine Grace and Nienke’s ceramics.
There are also jewellery makers, publishers and designers, a nursery, Gardener’s Cottage Restaurant, Pangolin Press who do printmaking, Lesley Charnock’s Gallery, Studio and Art School, furniture and fencing, the Fragile Cultures Music Project and art classes and workshops. This is a must visit.
Where: 31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands
When: Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 17h00; Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 to 15h00