The new Norval Foundation and why we should care about South African art

BizCommunity | Terry Levin

The recently opened Norval Foundation in the Cape Town suburb of Steenberg offers a proud, new public resource and new levels of excellence in the curation and display of South African and African visual art. Opened in April 2018, the foundation has been made possible by the donation of land and private art collection belonging to the Norval family, property magnate turned art investor Louis Norval, as well as individual and corporate benefactors. Following the model of international institutions, it is hoped the museum will shortly become financially self-sustaining via take-up of membership, patronage packages, and as a popular destination for educational, cultural, and corporate events which will enable the funding of public art programmes and ensure a legacy for South African artists in perpetuity.

Located across the road from the US Embassy, the glazed and granite-clad podium designed by DHK architects has made impressive attempts to minimise the environmental impact of the four-hectare eco-sensitive wetland site – such as Keith Kirsten’s rehabilitation of the indigenous flora, tunnels constructed under the road to facilitate the migration of the area’s endangered leopard toads, a grey-water purification system and solar rooftops. So what awaits beyond the booms, stanchions and toad-ways of the Norval entrance? At the moment visitors to the museum navigate a scaffold of black-painted wooden latticework by fellow African artist Burundian Serge Alain Nitegeka. The labyrinthine experience is intended to act as a metaphor for the challenges of migration through life as a displaced person and set the tone for the voyage of discovery through the artistic journey…read more

Image: Norval Foundation sculpture garden