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19 Sep

 #TravelTuesday – Top 5 Art Museums & Galleries to Visit! 

Art is a beautiful way to share thoughts and express creativity. It is also a powerful communication method that often stands the test of time. If you are looking to quench your curiosity about all things related to art history, galleries and art museums are the place to be. These spaces also serve as informative hubs where one can feed off the creativity of bold and talented souls while also being exposed to contemporary and post-modern art in its many forms. 

More than anything, museums are a paradise for art lovers and should be on the itinerary of any art enthusiast. While South Africa has many amazing art museums and galleries, here are just five which are a definite must-visit. 

  1. Johannesburg Art Gallery 

The Johannesburg Art Gallery boasts a large and exceptional public collection of modern and contemporary art. Since opening its doors in 1915, the haven for art enthusiasts has remained the epicentre of the Johannesburg art scene. At the gallery, one can find plenty of interesting artworks including Dutch paintings which date back to the 17th Century, as well as a large collection of 20th century South African and international art.  

  1. Oliewenhuis Art Museum 

The Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein formally opened in 1989 and is housed in a Neo-Dutch-style mansion. It is one of the city’s most delightful green spaces due to its gardens and the wild olive trees growing in the surrounding hills.  If you’re an art lover who’s also into nature, this one is definitely for you! Oliewenhuis is home to a fantastic sculpture collection, including sculptures made by artists from across South Africa which speak to the country’s unique mythologies and wildlife. 

  1. Pretoria Art Museum 

The Pretoria Art Museum is the best place to go for an overview of 20th and 21st-century South African art. From marvellous works by South African masters to contemporary exhibitions, the museum is not found wanting. Officially opened in 1954, the vision of the Pretoria Art Museum is to establish and conserve past and present South African art. This includes all genres, art mediums and leading figures. Traditional South African craftwork is also not left out. Most recently, the talented Theophelus Rikhotso presented an exhibition titled ‘Mikondzo ya vakokwani – The Ancestors’ Footsteps’ which consisted of paintings, sculptures and drawings that all spoke to the historical cultural heritage of the Tsonga nation and a sense of belonging. 

  1. Tatham Art Gallery 

The Tatham Art Gallery is amongst South Africa’s major art museums and dates back to 1903.  Situated in Pietermaritzburg, it hosts a range of temporary art exhibitions as well as ongoing changes in the permanent collection. Some of the fascinating collections include work by British and European impressionists and post-impressionists. There’s also interesting work by 20th-century South African artists such as George Pemba, Irma Stern and Alexis Preller. The artwork is thought-provoking and undoubtedly a feast for the eyes! 

  1. Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA)

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa collects, researches and exhibits contemporary art from Africa and the diaspora. Situated in Cape Town,  the museum is housed in an old grain silo which is said to once have been the country’s tallest building. The museum features rotating temporary exhibitions and there is also a dedicated space for permanent collections. Outside of the vast and impressive pieces, one can look forward to seeing the skeleton of the former silo which is creatively used as a space to house awe-inspiring installations. On some occasions, it is also used as a venue for unforgettable art performances. 

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