Caught between the mountains and the ocean, the South African capital of Cape Town is a buzzing hub of art and design. We bring to you a selection of our favorite local creative businesses to visit, as well as our curated picks of the top three South African artists to collect.
Art & Design Spots to Visit
Stay in Ellerman House, Cape Town’s most exclusive boutique hotel situated on the cliffside overlooking the ocean with terraced gardens, a large pool and one of the most important repositories of South African art that rivals that of the country’s best art museums with works by artists such as Irma Stern, Thomas Bowler and William Kentridge, which can be explored with art guide Talita Swarts.
Boasting one of the largest private collections of South African art, the Cape Town institution founded by property investor Louis Norval is dedicated to the research and exhibition of 20th– and 21st-century visual art from South Africa and beyond. Set against a mountain and vineyard landscape, the Norval Foundation comprises a sculpture garden, outdoor amphitheater, gallery spaces and library, showcasing pieces by the likes of Joni Brenner, Angus Taylor, Brett Murray and Yinka Shonibare.
The showroom of designer John Vogel, who makes distinctly South African furniture. His collectible work is available through Southern Guild, but he also has a production line of seating and tables that mixes pared-down, nature-inspired forms with woven African textures.
Casamento is the place for original upholstered furniture that has been handcrafted with traditional needlework and embellishments. Each piece has a story to tell as designer Starry Eve Collett sources rare textiles and uses sustainable fibers as much as possible.
Wolf & Maiden Creative Studio
Manufacturer of exquisite, high-end leather goods, Wolf & Maiden’s luggage, bags, wallets and belts blend the elegance of timeless leather craft with very contemporary design.
The catalyst for the wave of creative development that transformed the Woodstock district, NeighbourGoods Market is the spot to get a taste of the Cape, uniting the best local farmers, artisanal producers, fine food purveyors, local designers and crafters.
South African Artists to Collect
Working in print, installation, photography and video, Sue Williamson is part of a pioneering generation of South African artists addressing social change during apartheid. Recognized for her series of portraits of women involved in the country’s political struggle, her socially-based work reveals hidden histories and engages with themes of memory and identity formation.
Drawing its roots from the mastery of traditional techniques of sculpture, drawing and painting, the work of the Pretoria-born artist, Wim Botha, is sometimes delicate and sensitive, sometimes raw and mutilated, as he explores materials, forms and lines through varied mediums including treated wood, books, oil paint, steel, Indian ink, bronze, paper, marble, polystyrene and acrylic enamel paint.
Artist and activist Haroon Gunn-Salie, the FNB Art Prize 2018 winner from Cape Town, has formed a collaborative art practice that transforms community oral histories into artistic interventions and experiential installations, tackling issues such as neo-colonialism, radicalism and violence in wide-ranging media.