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February 28, 2013

Five things you didn’t know about the South African National Gallery

Come and experience the cultural wonders of the South African National Gallery in Cape Town's Company's Garden. Photo courtesy of Cape Town Tourism

On hot days it’s a sanctuary, in winter it’s an inspiration. A cultural treasure, the Iziko South African National Gallery is in the heart of Cape Town’s green Company's Garden, a squirrel scampering path and goldfish pond away from the Iziko South African Museum.

But did you know that …

• It boasts major collections of South African, pan-African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art

• The ever-changing programme of temporary collections means that the gallery showcases a feast of interesting visual art all year round, ranging from colonial to contemporary exhibitions and including paintings, sketches, etchings, photography, sculpture and beadwork, among other types of works

• Discussions around the erection of a building in the Company's Garden for the purpose of exhibiting art started in 1850. Foundations for the National Gallery building were laid in 1914 and the current building was officially opened to the public on 3 November 1930

• The initial meeting to discuss building plans in 1850 was essentially the first meeting of the South African Fine Arts Association, now the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA)

• The first-ever exhibition of fine art in South Africa took place on 10 May 1851, in school rooms in the Company’s Garden

The Iziko South African National Gallery is easily accessible by car and public transport. It is open Monday to Sunday from 10h00-17h00. Adults pay R20 to enter, pensioners and students pay R10, and visitors of 18 years and under enter for free.

Call +27 (0)21 481 3970 or visit http://iziko.org.za for more information on the gallery’s current exhibitions.

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