/ 30 July 2015

Seven spots to see art in Cape Town

AVA Gallery will showcase works by Thania Petersen on Thursday July 30
AVA Gallery will showcase works by Thania Petersen on Thursday July 30

There is a lot of art happening in the Mother City. Not only is it home to the Cape Town Art Fair and the new That Art Fair but in 2016, Thomas Heatherwick’s impressive Zeitz MOCAA opens at the V&A Waterfront where even more local and international art will be showcased.

Not forgetting the city’s very own art strip in Woodstock, and the many established and new galleries, as well as open artist studios around Salt River. In the city centre, the First Thursdays initiative sees galleries open at night to show enthusiastic crowds all the cool art in Cape Town. Like artist Chris Denovan exhibition, Obsessed with Ourselves, which will open on September 3 at StateoftheART gallery in conjunction with First Thursdays.

Then there’s the annual Infecting the City event that takes dance, music and poetry, as well as performance and visual art, out of the theatre and galleries and into the streets to transform the city into a public celebration of art. 

Artist Kunyalala Ndlovu’s work.

Talking of public art initiatives, Rock Girl’s drive to create awareness and safe spaces for girls and boys sees them tapping into the creative expertise of artists and designers. The result: strikingly beautiful benches dotted all around the city and duplicated sister benches in disadvantaged communities and township schools. Read more about the drive at rockgirlsa.org

Happening in February 2016, at a venue still to be disclosed, That Art Fair  was founded by ArtSouthAfrica’s Brendon and Suzette Bell Roberts last February. This fair is that fair where artists from Africa are in the driver’s seat, minus the red tape and rules usually associated with mainstream art business. At a reasonable fee, selected artists can hire an exhibition space to show their work and meet with collectors and art enthusiasts from all over the world.  But, enough about that, and more about where to see art in and around Cape Town now.  


Take the scenic route to quaint Kalk Bay for new works by Janet Ranson, Peter van Straten, Liz Hansen and CP Wessels at Artvark Gallery. Founded by artist Theresa Jo Wessels in Johannesburg in 1991, Artvark relocated to Kalk Bay in 1998 and exhibits a diverse range of art and handcrafted works by both established and emerging artists. Enjoy a meal at their Courtyard Café overlooking the busy street, the little shops, and the Indian Ocean in the distance.

For more, visit artvark.org.

AVA Gallery

Situated in Cape Town’s historic Church Street, the AVA will showcase works by Thania Petersen on Thursday July 30, for one night only. An emerging artist, Petersen’s work investigates her Cape Malay identity and forms part of the project Skattie Celebrates. Presented in association with ArtAfrica (formerly ARTsouthAFRICA), Malibongwe Tyilo and Sandiso Ngubane, editors of fashion, arts and cultural portal thatskattie.com, are behind this initiative to promote new talent. About her work, Petersen, a direct descendant of Imam Abdullah Ibn Qadhu Abdus Salaam, otherwise knows as Tuan Guru, the father of Islam in South Africa, says in her artist statement, “I trace the historical trajectory of forced removals from the point of entry, the sea, to further inland.”  For more on the show, visit Thatskattie.


A small gallery with a big pop and street art punch, Worldart was established in 2004 by Charl Bezuidenhout and also has its home in historic Church Street. There, until July 30, Lady Skollie’s (Laura Windvogel) exhibition Ask for What You Want shows her body of work, created over two years, exploring themes of gender roles, sex, greed and lust.  Don’t miss Claude Chandler’s exhibition, Binary Transcendence, on from August 6 to August 30. A top 40 finalist in the 2013 SPI National Portrait competition, Chandler was also a finalist in Sasol 2012 New Signatures National Art Competition. 

Also see works by Kilmany Jo Liversage, represented exclusively by the gallery. She will be off to London’s Moniker Art Fair in October for a solo show. A recent painting, Her name was Nokuphila Kumalo, refers to the sex worker who was seen on CCTV footage being kicked to death, allegedly by artist Zwelethu Mthethwa. He is currently on trial for the murder. For more, check out worldart.co.za.

Corner Long and Dorp Streets

If you have something to get off your chest, artist Jacques Coetzer’s large scale artwork Open House is just the place. Winner of the Western Cape Government Public Art Competition, this red steel and corrugated iron construction takes the shape of a thin house, with balconies on both sides, inviting anyone and everyone to say their say, recite a poem, sing a song, or simply sit down, have lunch and enjoy the city view. Launched this year, the competition celebrates South Africa’s 20 years of democracy. Check it out here.

Barnard Gallery

In the leafy suburb of Newlands is where the Barnard Gallery is situated. Founded  in 2010 by director Christiaan Barnard, it represents award-winning artists like Lien Botha, Virginia MacKenny and Ndikhumbule Ngqinamb, among others. Katherine Spindler’s solo exhibition of paintings opens at the space on August 4 and is on until September 8. A part-time lecturer at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Spindler also teaches at Bishops Diocesan College. Her first solo exhibition, At Sea, was on at Commune.1 in Cape Town in 2011, and her work has also been included in a number of group exhibitions. Check out barnardgallery.com.


Established in 2008, WHATIFTHEWORLD calls an old Woodstock synagogue home. The gallery represents young and established contemporary South African artists, publishes artist monographs and catalogues, and now also nurtures a new generation of artists from Africa through professional guidance and support. Catch Morné Visagie’s second exhibition, The Line of Beauty and Julia Rosa Clark’s Two Works, which is a large scale drawing installation made up of a myriad of discarded found objects, cut outs and painted pieces. Both are on until September 16. For more see, whatiftheworld.com.

Smith Studio  

Another gallery in the city’s cobbled Church Street is the recently restored Smith Studio, a space worth visiting for its architectural beauty alone. The solo show, titled The Heart That Thunders, by Zimbabwean artist Kunyalala Ndlovu runs until August 15. Ndlovu uses print making, drawing and painting to reconstruct and connect his heritage to lost parts of South Africa’s history and so  tell a new story. Visit smithstudio.co.za for more. 

Visit Hello Weekend (Hello Cape Town) to read more about their specials.

This content has been produced in partnership with Cape Town Tourism. Contents and photographs were sourced independently by the M&G’s editorial team.