Monday, January 8, 2018

African art at the South African National Gallery and beyond (Photo-essay)

Amidst all the hype about Cape Town's still pretty new -- seeing as it only officially opened its doors to the public on September 22nd, 2017 -- Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (sometimes seemingly much more about the building in which it's housed more than anything else), it's worth remembering that there's lots of art to be found elsewhere within South Africa's "Mother City" and its surroundings.  

Chief among them for me is the South African National Gallery located in the same row of government buildings as De Tuynhuys (which is the office of the South African President) and the country's Houses of Parliament, and whose admission charges I reckon to be a major bargain (especially in comparison to those for Zeitz MOCAA and also when considering the quality of the artwork on show there).  But I also came across cool art works in seemingly unlikely places including in the main buildings of wine estates that I was brought to and also the Pan African Market whose three floors were filled to the brim with all manner of contemporary paintings along with traditional artefacts and handicrafts...

A statue of South African statesman Jan Smuts stands
in front of the South African National Gallery building
Ndebele art has pride of place in one of the museum's galleries
As at Zeitz MOCAA, the art on display at the South African 
National Gallery comes from all over the African continent
When exhibited in an anthropology museum, one will focus
on these objects' cultural import but when you see them in
an art gallery, your focus is on appreciating their beauty
Of course, this is not to say that art (such as this political 
cartoon by Derek Bauer that's part of an ongoing exhibition 
at the South African National Gallery) can't also communicate
And wow, is this art installation involving pass books and fire
at the Delaire Graff (wine) Estate ever so powerfully evocative!
Returning to the South African National Gallery:
I love this Mdolly's name/title as well as the object itself
On the subject of dollies: meet Ndbele Dolly, who I saw at 
the Pan African Museum and decided to take home! ;b

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