The Mother City has long been a fertile birthing ground for the creative arts, and a renewed impetus over the last decade has seen Cape Town transformed into a top-tier arts destination.
One of the most significant game-changers that cemented the city’s status as an arts hub worthy of international acclaim was the launch of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) in 2017. Bestowed with weighty accolades, such as ‘The 8th Wonder of the World’, this architectural masterpiece has done much to enhance Cape Town’s standing as a home to innovators pushing the limits of groundbreaking art.
The South Africa 2018 Wealth Report cites African art as accounting for around $1bn (about R12bn) of the total global top-end art market valued at $75bn. Of that, $450m (R5.5bn) African art is held in South Africa. Estimates show that local fine art prices have risen by 28% over the past 10 years in dollar terms, while global fine art rose by 12%.Top sellers include Irma Stern (R30m per painting) and Maggie Laubser (R5m per painting).
The ensuing interest in art tourism has made Cape Town galleries an excellent viewing point to experience exceptional local art at its source.
Standout galleries forming the backbone of the city’s art route include three V&A Waterfront exhibition spaces – the Zeitz MOCAA (envisaged to rival London’s Tate Modern and New York City’s MoMA); Everard Read, South Africa’s oldest commercial gallery, and Southern Guild.
Inner city galleries include Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko); Association for Visual Arts (AVA), Gallery MOMO, Cape Gallery, Eclectica Contemporary, boutique Salon Ninety One, plus Sandy De Bruin’s elegant No 5 on Hudson in trendy De Waterkant.
Woodstock’s eclectic African art scene veers towards the contemporary at Goodman Gallery Cape, Stevenson Gallery, 34 Fine Art Gallery, Art It Is and Whatiftheworld; while perimeter galleries such as Rust-en-Vrede offer a clay museum; Artvark has a keen eye for folk art and custom made steel works; Irma Stern Museum houses a permanent collection, and The Norval Foundation features one of the biggest private art collections in the country, and is custodian of the Gerard Sekoto Foundation.
With Cape Town’s myriad of galleries showcasing diverse artwork from across the continent, the city’s robust art scene continues to flourish – making this World Design Capital the perfect space to air cutting-edge, provocative artwork.