A quick introduction to Cape Town as a city of art.
Cape Town has cemented its place as a worthy participant in the international art scene, with a range of renowned art fairs, monthly events, public art and street art that rivals any of the world’s larger cities for innovation and inspiration.
At the same time, innovative artists, collectors and property developers are ensuring Cape Town’s position as a top global art destination.
In Cape Town art doesn’t just happen in galleries, but out on the streets too, where it has become part of the fabric of a city where officials use art to bring people together. Art critic Ivor Powell says there is “a dynamism, commitment and identity in the arts such as we have not seen since the dawn of the South African democracy (in 1994)”.
Ashraf Jamal, cultural analyst and author of Art South Africa, references an 1899 painting by British artist James Ford entitled Holiday time in Cape Town in the Twentieth Century, to sum up the art scene in Cape Town: “At the glossy foot of Table Mountain we see a crazy mix of European architecture from Gothic to Neoclassical to the weird Venturi postmodern spin-offs we would become accustomed to, in which anything and everything came together to create a frenzied tentacular aesthetic. That’s Cape Town! A mix, a mashup, a reverb. Part colonial, part now, caught in a time warp that allows for nostalgia, dreams – even an art revolution.”
The world-class Cape Town Art Fair showcases 130 artists and the best art the city has to offer. Don’t miss it.
An international draw card, the three-day Cape Town Art Fair exhibits a broad range of works that shows off the investment value of South African art.
This young fair – run by global art events firm Fiera Milano, which also runs the acclaimed art fairs Art International Istanbul and MiArt Italy – has fast become the top event on Cape Town’s art calendar.
With roughly 40 notable galleries and more than 130 artists represented, visitors are exposed to a wide range of media and genres and are encouraged to interact with gallery owners, curators and artists, not only to purchase works, but also to view the diversity of contemporary South African art.
“Cape Town can certainly claim to have the best location of any art fair in the world,” says New York-based author and art historian Rose Lee Goldberg, who has committed to using her influence to bring key New York galleries to Cape Town for future art fairs.
Running alongside the Cape Town Art Fair is the annual That Art Fair (thatartfair.com), an expo that showcases artists from Cape Town who are not part of the more traditional art scene. For outsiders, owning art or networking with the art community can seem intimidating, but this event is less formal and wants to create a space in which artists and art organisations can flourish.