Iziko Museums of South Africa took the decision to temporarily close the Iziko South African National Gallery. The temporary closure provided curators, collections managers, conservators, creatives, educators, administrators and support services staff with the opportunity to pause, plan, reflect and initiate the ISANG Revitalisation Project. The ISANG Revitalisation Project is a strategic imperative and part of Iziko’s Reimagining Implementation Plan.
‘The museums, galleries, libraries, and archives of Iziko do more than just preserve and display artefacts, artworks, documents, photographs, and scientific specimens. They are places of creativity, innovation, and discovery – spaces for gathering, celebrating art, culture, knowledge and storytelling,’ says Ms Rooksana Omar, CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Originally scheduled to open on Heritage Day, the commemorative ISANG 150 exhibition, aptly coined Breaking Down the Walls, is postponed until 27th of October 2022. Iziko Museums will not only launch a visual showcase revealing the diverse span of contrasting works and treasures within Iziko’s art collections but is also revitalizing and upgrading the Iziko South African National Gallery’s collections conservation, storage and exhibitions areas.
Upgraded exhibition halls at the Iziko South African National Gallery, 2022. ©Iziko Museums of South Africa/N. Pamplin
Says Dr Bongani Ndhlovu, Executive Director, Iziko Museums of South Africa: ‘ISANG 150, and the exhibition Breaking Down the Walls, gives Iziko Museums an opportunity to reflect on its collections and to initiate a healthy dialogue through our national estate. As a colonial construct, the Iziko South African National Gallery has progressively interrogated its collection practices. This exhibition spotlights key acquisitions in our collections, raises debates about specific eras in our country’s history and how artists have attempted to reflect on our colonial, apartheid and anti-apartheid pasts as wellthe post-1994 moment. Through this exhibition, we invite members of the public to contribute to this constructive engagement.”
Upgrades to the Atrium in the Iziko South African National Gallery, 2022. ©Iziko Museums of South Africa/N. Pamplin
The current phase of the ISANG Revitalisation Project is a catalyst towards addressing longstanding challenges with infrastructure, visitor experience and collections storage. Iziko Museums believes that this phase of the project (and beyond) will lead to significant infrastructure improvement of the Gallery to meet its re-imagining goals. Latent infrastructural challenges require an extension of the temporary closure – a consequence of the Gallery being an ageing heritage building. Iziko would like to apologise to the public and ask for your patience as we attend to this responsibility with the level of care that it requires.
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