A guide to top galleries in Cape Town
The creative energy in Cape Town is palpable and the vast multitude of art galleries in the city bears testament to its commitment to South Africa’s visual arts movement.
Cape Town is arguably the creative capital of South Africa. The city’s creative energy has over the years created a nurturing environment that continues to draw artists and creatives of all kinds to its shores. It is no wonder then, that Cape Town boasts an incredible wealth of galleries in which to view work spanning a multitude of genres by artists from across the African continent.
Here’s a look at a few of the most prominent art galleries in Cape Town:
The Cape Gallery
One of the oldest galleries in Cape Town and situated in the heart of the CBD, The Cape Gallery contains works that invoke Africa’s cultural identity, from classic landscape paintings to sculptures and modern street art.
João Ferreira Gallery
The João Ferreira Gallery in Cape Town’s city centre is known for its exhibitions of a diverse range of work of exceptional quality from both emerging and established local contemporary artists.
Since 2006 the Brundyn+ gallery has provided a platform for local contemporary artists, and has established itself as one of South Africa’s leading galleries at the forefront of the country’s visual arts discourse.
Tucked away in the pedestrian walkway on Church Street in the CBD, Worldart’s collection features mainly contemporary urban and street art by local artists. They also specialize in sourcing pieces for collectors.
Featuring the work of both local and international artists, and based in edgy Woodstock, this contemporary gallery runs a number of solo and group exhibitions throughout the year.
Abe Opperman Gallery
This contemporary Cape Town gallery can be found in the quaint district of De Waterkant, close to iconic settings such as the V&A Waterfront, the Cape Town Stadium and the magisterial grandeur of Table Mountain. Its interior is crisp, modern and bright, mirroring its celebrated sister gallery in Johannesburg. Exhibitions change every 6 months, with Opperman’s works exclusively adorning the walls. His craft is unmistakeably his own, with intimate pieces containing bold subjects that can almost be seen as shadows stretching across starker backgrounds. In his own words, “For me, art is about sharing a personal experience”.
Also in Woodstock, just outside of Cape Town’s city centre, the Whatiftheworld specializes in innovative contemporary work by emerging South African artists, and features everything from drawings to sculpture to installation art and performance pieces.
Iziko South African National Gallery
Located in Cape Town’s leafy Company Gardens with Table Mountain as backdrop, the South African National Gallery is one of the foremost art museums in South Africa. The museum has large permanent collections of South African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art that changes regularly to allow temporary exhibitions of paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and architecture.
This little boutique gallery on Cape Town’s trendy Kloof street showcases group and solo work from both established and up-and-coming local contemporary artists, rotating every three or four weeks.
EDGE Glass Gallery
Established by artist Nelius Britz, the EDGE Glass Gallery features some of the best South African and international art glass pieces, while nurturing emerging local glass artists.
Goodman Gallery Cape Town
Along with its branch in Johannesburg, the Goodman Gallery’s focus is on contemporary art within the African context by both local and international artists.
Another one of the many galleries in Woodstock, Blank Projects has built a reputation for showcasing cutting edge contemporary South African art, including experimental work.
Everard Read Cape Town
Originally established in Johannesburg, Everard Read Cape Town is a dynamic gallery that prides itself in its fine contemporary painting and sculpture exhibitions of both local and international artists.
Located in a large Victorian building on Kloof Street, in the CBD, and featuring the popular Blah Blah Bar on its ground floor, the Erdmann Contemporary gallery promotes contemporary, as well as conceptual works by a select group of painters, sculptors and photographers.
A short hop around the mountain from the city centre, the Barnard Gallery in Newlands is a modern art gallery that showcases work from a number of top, predominantly local, artists working in a variety of mediums.
Association for Visual Arts (AVA)
The AVA plays an important part in the growth of contemporary visual art, particularly in the Western Cape. It is one of the oldest non-profit galleries in Cape Town and hosts up to 50 exhibitions every year. Many young contemporary artists who have made their debut at the gallery.
Set to be the largest contemporary art gallery in Africa, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) is scheduled to open its doors early in 2017. Located in the V&A Waterfront’s historic Grain Silo, the gallery will span nine floors and will include German-born businessman, Jochen Zeitz’s renowned private collection of African artworks and installations, as well as cutting-edge contemporary art from around the continent.
Artroute Cape Town
If you’re not sure where to kick off your tour of Cape Town’s fine art establishments, Artroute Cape Town offers tailor-made art tours that showcase the best art galleries in and around Cape Town. You will be accompanied by renowned art guide and South African art expert, Talita Swarts.