MARCH 2024 – To mark Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel’s 125th birthday celebration in 2024, Mother City, a curation of artworks from the Norval Foundation’s Collection will be on show at the legendary Belmond property. Punctuating The Nellie’s grand halls and public spaces, artworks through the lens of 16 artists’ nuanced practices will find a home at the hotel until October.

On the surface, Mother City is a concept that owes its name to Cape Town’s moniker as the first city settled by Europeans in South Africa, but the exhibition probes deeper. Drawing from the Norval Foundation’s extensive collection of contemporary works by some of the country’s most prominent artists, RESERVOIR founders Heinrich Groenewald and Shona van der Merwe have framed the exhibition around the multifaceted and complex notions associated with the role of the mother – particularly as a symbolic source of care. “Working with the geographical location of the Norval Foundation, the exhibition explores how these diverse and at times diasporic artists have come to be represented in the permanent collection, through an imagined symbolic connection to Cape Town – the Mother City. Notions of not only the archetypal mother but its extended connotations of community, femininity,
ancestry and social icons can be found throughout the practices of the artists on show.”

Displayed throughout Mount Nelson’s lounge, bar, reception, conservatory and transitional spaces, this immersive collection of works spans mediums from painting, photography, and relief sculpture to tapestry and stitching. Each creator offers a unique perspective on the subject with exhibited artists including Mia Chaplin, Georgina Gratrix, Nicholas Hlobo, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Bronwyn Katz, Bonolo Kavula, Dada Khanyisa, Kapwani Kiwanga, Zanele Muholi, Cassi Namoda, Gregory Olympio, Thania Petersen, Athi-Patra Ruga, Gerda Scheepers, Berni Searle and Brett Charles Seiler.

“It’s a great honour to share part of the Homestead Collection with guests of Mount Nelson. As a leading 20th-century South African art collection dedicated to an expanded narrative, these works speak to the hotel’s reverence for its past and its insistence on being part of the future,” says founder of the Norval Foundation, Louis Norval.

This commitment to supporting art and creativity was a perfect marriage to the goals of the Cape Town art museum, Norval Foundation. Norval Foundation was established in 2018 as a platform to champion and support African Art and artists, and to develop art education in the Western Cape. Since its inception, Norval Foundation has hosted exhibitions dedicated to the works of esteemed artists including William Kentridge, Berni Searle, Cinga Samson, Michael Armitage, Bonolo Kavula, Wim Botha, and many more.

Globally, Belmond’s part in supporting the arts, its curators, and collectors in each of its global locations has been substantial. Locally, the Pink Lady, affectionately named after her emblematic painted façade, has been a cultural cornerstone for over a century.

Set in the heart of Cape Town’s vibrant inner city and backed by Table Mountain, Mount Nelson fuses its impressive heritage with contemporary relevance and a cultural calendar that celebrates the country’s creative assets.

The hotel’s partnership with Investec Cape Town Art Fair, its site-specific architectural artwork by renowned French artist Daniel Buren as part of MITICO 3.0 by Galleria Continua, and its annual Confections x Collections event, curated by Twyg, have been key to establishing and deepening The Nellie’s imaginative offerings. “Our intention at Mount Nelson is to create a welcoming and engaging space where guests can celebrate the creativity, art, and design coming from our continent and beyond,” says Tiago Sarmento, General Manager of the hotel. The addition of pieces from the Norval Foundation’s Homestead Collection can only augment this ever-evolving artistic endeavour.





Mount Nelson by Poppy Thorpe

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