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New exhibition showcases the bond between humans and the heavens

The exhibition has been enabled by the generous financial support of the National Research Foundation.

     In keeping up with the theme, Hemelliggaam (Afrikaans for “heavenly body”), or The Attempt to Be Here Now, brings together both astronomers and artists in its attempt to serve as a “visual exploration of the existential aspects of the human-environment-astronomy relationship”. The project aims, its creators say, “to display with a contemporary perspective the interplay between scientific astronomical activity and everyday awareness of space and is also inspired by South African Science fiction writings”.
     The pieces set out to capture the relationship that these communities have with the sky and the environment, but will also contribute to the development of a (visual) history of astronomy in South Africa.
     Hemelliggaam builds on the lively education and public outreach programme of sky viewings and high school lectures that the UWC Astrophysics Group runs, explains Dr Lucia Marchetti, a postdoctoral fellow with the Group. “With Hemelliggaam we aim to develop stronger links with our community both in Cape Town and in the Northern Cape, where optical and radio telescopes are being operated,” she says.
     As part of the South African History of Astronomy Roadmap, but also by the support of the Consulate of Italy, the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Enel X South Africa.
     UWC is an academic partner of the recently completed Digital Dome upgrade carried out at the Iziko Planetarium, in which scientists were able to present large volumes of astronomical data in a visual format. Hemelliggaam, too, will produce local content for the public shows at the Planetarium, contributing to a quintessential South African experience.

Iziko Planetarium

Unique Events:

Iziko Planetarium

  • Artists Tommaso Fiscaletti and Nic Grobler have worked in collaboration with scientists from the Astrophysics Group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of the Western Cape.
  • The pieces are set out to capture the relationship that these communities in Northern Cape have with the sky and the environment.
  • It will also contribute to the development of a (visual) history of astronomy in South Africa.
  • The exhibition features photographs and videos – recorded by Fiscaletti and Grobler – depicting not only astronomers and telescopes, but also Northern Cape communities close to the South African Large Telescope (SALT) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Venue: Iziko Museum | Address: 25 Queen Victoria St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town 8001 | Tel: 021 481 3800 | Ticket Price: R30 Adults and R15 kids | Date: 09 March to 22 April 2018 | Website:

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