South African National Gallery

Walking through the Company’s Garden at Cape Town you’ll discover the South African National Gallery at its southwestern end. It is an art museum that was founded in 1871 and that exhibits African and European art. The collection started with works donated by Sir Thomas Butterworth Bayleys and was extended with European artists over time. Thereby this was a special place showing foreign art and the curators are aware about the effects of colonialism on their collection. Since 1990 the focus is to add South African artworks and especially paintings by black artists to the collection.

When I went there an exhibition of works by Esther Mahlangu took place. She was born in 1935 and belongs to the Ndebele people whose heritage her works do reflect. Esther Mahlangu started to paint as a child and especially painted the topical geometric structures of her people on houses and later on all kinds of things (including cars). When she began to paint on canvas her art was discovered in Europe as well and was shown at Paris and London; it was sold to and became known throughout the world.

South African National Gallery
Government Avenue
Cape Town
South Africa

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