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5 of the most stunning sculpture gardens in South Africa

South Africa has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world, enticing both local and international tourists. The combination of our natural fauna and flora and exceptional fine art sculptures creates magical spaces for visitors to escape into and explore. Local and international tourists are adding sculpture gardens to their itineraries and we’re highlighting a few spaces to spend some time enjoying exceptional art in a beautiful setting.

Sculptures for the world at large

Mark Read Everard Read Sculpture South Africa foundries bronze
The Everard Read stand at FNB Johannesburg Art Fair 2018

Tamaryn Greer and Lore Watterson of Creative Feel spoke to Mark Read, director of Everard Read Gallery, about his passion for sculpture and his role as a mentor to South Africa’s top sculptors. It’s a warm day, so Mark Read suggests we sit on the deck outside his home on top of the Everard Read Gallery for our chat. The views from up here are spectacular, and Read’s two passions are immediately evident: art and conservation. He eagerly points out the baobab tree he is busy growing – just one of the many well-tended plants that fill the rooftop space. He points out a striking bronze by Deborah Bell; a custodian of the skyline, visible from his bedroom window. Read’s love of sculpture is the reason for our meeting. Everard Read Gallery represents most of the sculptors in South Africa – sculpture gardens like Norval Foundation or Nirox are dotted with large-scale three-dimensional works by some of the country’s most respected artists, most of whom are Everard Read artists. Read more about how Everard Read contribute to the bustling sculptors in South Africa, and around the world!

Sculpting a garden

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Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden PHOTO Elsa Young

Dylan Lewis is widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost sculptors of the animal form, particularly of big cats. But over the past decade, he has carved out a new space in the form of the magnificent seven-hectare Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden in Stellenbosch, a project he considers his ‘largest sculpture to date’. The making of a garden rarely goes according to plan. For Dylan Lewis, his garden began serendipitously in 2009, when he hired an excavator to make a level play area for his children behind the family’s house on a farm in Paradyskloof. ‘When the earth-moving machine began work, I was mesmerised,’ he says. ‘It was like a giant sculpting tool, with the potential to transform the derelict tract of flat farmland we lived on into dynamic shapes and forms.’ Over the next two years, the artist shaped hills, valleys and water features, then set about planting and placing sculpture in relation to the surroundings. Read more about making an appointment for viewing and learn more about the evolution of his stunning sculptures!  

South Africa’s new art destination

Norval Foundation Sculpture Garden
Nandipha Mntambo, Ophelia, 2015. Bronze and mild steel, 303 x 121 x 25cm. Collection of the artist

When Norval Foundation opened in Steenberg, Cape Town on 28 April 2018, art and culture enthusiasts and the public alike gained access to a new space dedicated to showcasing art exhibitions with global appeal, in an environment that also fosters an appreciation for nature. Adjacent to Table Mountain National Park, Norval Foundation was designed by dhk Architects and features world-class, purpose-built galleries, a sculpture garden, outdoor amphitheatre, research library, a restaurant and bar, a shop and a children’s playground. Read more about the Norval Foundation’s art collection and exhibitions!

RMB Sculpture

RMB Fearless Girl Rand Merchant Bank
Africa’s Fearless Girl by Marieke Prinsloo-Rowe at RMB’s Think Precinct

In March 2017, the iconic Fearless Girl statue by Kristen Visbal took its place on Wall Street, standing defiantly and staring down New York’s bronze Charging Bull by Arturo Di Modica. Now, in 2018, it’s time for Africa’s own Fearless Girl to take a stand. Commissioned by RMB and created by Cape Town-based artist Marieke Prinsloo-Rowe, the artwork shows a proud and courageous African teenage girl walking alongside a contemporary concrete lion. The lion doubles up as a functional bench, and invites viewers to sit and contemplate the ideals inherent in ‘fearless femininity’. Having been inspired by Wall Street’s Fearless Girl, RMB envisioned a life-size, Afro-centric version of the artwork that would speak to the values of individuality, courage, and strength. Read more about Arica’s very own Fearless Girl!

Museums beyond walls

University of Pretoria sculpture museum
Sculpture by Anton Smit PHOTO courtesy the University of Pretoria

When walking across the Hatfield Campus at the University of Pretoria (UP), one does not only pass beautiful historic buildings with noteworthy architectural features, but also a diversity of contemporary sculptures and other works of art. These public sculptures and artworks often go unnoticed, yet they form an integral part of the University’s campus heritage. The more than 40 sculptures are accessible to the general public, students and staff, and form a living extension of the collections curated and managed by the UP Museums. The museum offers guided tours to visitors and scholars for exploration, research, and knowledge to evoke the culture of art appreciation, art understanding, and to foster an ongoing dialogue between art and diverse communities. Read more about the University of Pretoria’s sculpture’s!

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