CityLife Arts

Javett Art Centre now open

New, drive-through sculpture exhibition of iconic African and South African art

By CityLife Arts Writer

The Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria is now open to the public after it closed its doors to the public earlier this year because of the outbreak of Covid 19.

The Javett Art Centre (Javett-UP) reopened on Heritage Day, Thursday 24 September 2020. What’s more, the art centre reopened with a new, drive-through exhibition of South African sculpture.

The exhibition, Shaping the Grain, adds another collection to the already impressive three exhibitions of African and South African art that’s on view at Javett-UP.

All in A Day’s Eye exhibition.

“We have brought together a collection of iconic sculpture pieces, and we’re turning our basement parking area into a temporary gallery to exhibit them,” says Dr Samuel Isaacs, interim chief executive. “This, as far as we know, is a first in the country. We look forward to how people respond to this innovation and to the sculpture pieces that will be on exhibition there.”

Shaping the Grain is curated by Gerard de Kamper, chief curator, ceramics and collections management at the University of Pretoria.

The drive-though sculpture exhibition includes numerous beautiful and thought provoking pieces by South African artists, including (but not limited to) work by Owen Ndou, Aziwimpheleli Magoro, Lucky Makamu and Azwifarwi Ragimana.

In all, 18 pieces are exhibited in the basement. They join the works on exhibition in the art centre’s galleries, where the 101 Collecting Conversations: Signature Works of a Century; the Gold of Africa; and the All in a Day’s Eye exhibition of modern South African art reopen after nearly six months of lockdown.


“Javett-UP is uniquely a home for the art of Africa: a place where people come to engage with, study and view the work of the artists of this continent. We not only acknowledge and celebrate African artists at Javett-UP, we also give their work a space where the narrative of this continent may be told with integrity and authenticity.”

Of course, says Isaacs, anti-Covid-19 protocols and protection measures are in place . ‘Nothing matters more to us than the safety of visitors and staff, so every measure is being applied to keep everybody in the art centre safe from the coronavirus.

“At Javett-UP, we are in the business of taking care of precious, beautiful things. We have brought exactly the same diligence to safeguarding the health of all in the art centre.” 


To ensure social distancing, the number of people who were permitted into the centre  on the opening on September 24, heritage Day was limited to 150 at a time. Entry was free on Heritage Day,

 To secure your place, please visit www.javettup.art to get all the details on the admission policy during Level One lockdown.

“We are excited to be opening again,” Isaacs says. “We had our grand opening last year on Heritage Day, so it’s fitting that the centre reopens after the relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown on the same day this year.”

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