From world-class contemporary art to celebrated up-and-comers, Cape Town has a flourishing art scene with countless outstanding galleries. Start your journey at The Twelve Apostles, where the spectacular backdrop of Cape Town inspired the hotel’s art collection, with work by celebrated artists such as John Henry Amshewitz and Tinus de Jongh depicting scenes from the Cape and its surrounds. Suitably inspired, continue your explorations at these interesting art galleries in Cape Town.
South African National Gallery
If it’s your first time in Cape Town, the South African National Gallery is a great place to start your discovery of the city’s art scene. As the country’s premier art museum, its extensive collection encompasses work from across South Africa, the continent and Europe, giving an insight into the roots of this fascinating country. Aside from housing a permanent collection, the gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions, from textiles and beadwork to architecture.
Johans Borman Fine Art
To see the true diversity of South African art, visit Johans Borman Fine Art. The gallery exhibits a staggering variety of artwork, from paintings by the South African Old Masters to graphic prints and sculptures by contemporary artists, giving visitors to the gallery an understanding of the journey South African art has taken.
Another forerunner of the contemporary art scene is Goodman Gallery, which focuses on artists from South Africa and beyond who create work within an African context. Since its inception in 1966, the gallery has focused on promoting the work of young South African artists, alongside exhibits of international artists who reflect on African politics and society.
The New Church Museum
As South Africa’s first contemporary art museum, The New Church Museum is widely regarded as one of the most important galleries in Cape Town. With the belief that art can benefit society through examining its values and norms, the gallery invites curators who engage the public through their exhibitions. Visit this gallery for thought-provoking permanent collections and temporary showcases.
What If The World
Located in a decommissioned synagogue in the creative hub of Woodstock, What If The World gallery was established by South African Cameron Munro and New Yorker Justin Rhodes as a platform for emerging artists in the community. Now showcasing work by some of the country’s most revered creatives, the gallery hosts temporary solo exhibitions and collaborative initiatives, as well as artist workshops.
Also in Woodstock is the contemporary art gallery SMAC, representing established and emerging artists, with the work of the internationally renowned also shown. Aside from exhibiting these works of art, the gallery also hosts artist residencies. It’s this involvement in Cape Town’s prosperity as a contemporary arts hub that makes SMAC well worth a visit.
While you’re in the Woodstock precinct, don’t miss out on the small contemporary gallery Stevenson. Group and solo exhibitions showcase the work of both international and South African artists, with a particular focus on the region.
After hopping between these inspiring art galleries in Cape Town, reflect on your day amidst the sculptures of renowned wildlife artist Donald Greig in The Twelve Apostles’ Leopard Bar.
Header image: Contemporary artworks by the Benin artist Meschac Gaba © Stevenson Gallery