Known for its rich ethnic and cultural diversity as well as for its difficult past, South Africa is currently a hotbed of artists and galleries mixing western and traditionally African influences. Here we take a look at the country’s top ten contemporary art galleries alongside their current exhibitions.
The fast rising WHATIFTHEWORLD gallery is a hotspot for emerging artists creating innovative and exciting work, whether in solo or group exhibitions and as such, the gallery has helped launch the careers of a number of high profile South African artists working today.
The Goodman Gallery is actively dedicated to supporting both respected and emerging South African artists within its two gallery spaces in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Since its opening in 1966, the gallery has become an influential force in contemporary art in South Africa, having been at the forefront of the 1985 Art Against Apartheid exhibition.
34 Fine Art Gallery
Having moved to its new location in Buchanan Square in Cape Town in 2010, the 34 Fine Art Gallery exhibits an array of well-known and unfamiliar South African artists alongside a number of prominent international artists.
Since its opening in 2003, the Gallery MOMOhas been at the forefront of contemporary art in Johannesburg, regularly hosting exhibitions of both local and international artists who are still in the infancy of their careers.
The Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery
As one of the largest commercial exhibition spaces in the Western Cape, the Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery is widely known for its focus on contemporary art movements in South Africa such as the modernist abstract period and the protest period. The gallery is also committed to building up contacts within the International art community and in 2009 sponsored three artists entry in the 53rd Venice Biennale.
With close links to the University of Pretoria,Fried Contemporary focuses on exhibiting and promoting the very best contemporary South African artists. The gallery also offers a range of educational art classes in association with the university, from courses for beginners to the more experienced.
With gallery spaces in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the Stevenson contemporary art gallery hosts both emerging and established artists and often participates in a number of international art fairs. The gallery also runs the FOREX progamme, started in 2009, the gallery has brought the works of a number of international artists to South Africa.
The AVA Gallery
One of Cape Towns most respected galleries, the AVA Gallery opened in 1972 and since then has been hosting and nurturing South African artists, young and old working within all forms of art from painting to performance in its four exhibition spaces.
Originally established as an informal opportunity for artists to gather and exchange ideas over a century ago, the KZNSA Gallery is today better known as one of Durban’s leading contemporary art galleries, exhibiting both South African and International artists, while also offering educational classes and a cinema, all housed within a building designed by an award winning architect.
Knysna Fine Art
Whilst the Knysna Fine Art gallery focuses on South African artists, the gallery often exhibits the works of international artists, displaying a number of paintings, sculptures and ceramics. The gallery also works closely with a number of dealers and collectors and has sold works by a number of high profile South African artists.