Temporary closure of the Iziko South African National Gallery

17/05/2022

Statement by Ms. Rooksana Omar, CEO of Iziko Museums of South Africa.

The Iziko South African National Gallery, 2022. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Iziko Museums of South Africa will temporarily close the Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG), housed in the Company’s Garden in Cape Town. The ISANG will close from 23 May 2022 for a period of four months and reopen to the public on Heritage Day, 24 September 2022. The iconic Iziko South African National Gallery houses an extensive collection of works of art and sculptures, and this brief pause represents a catalyst towards reimagining, rediscovering, and relaunching the ISANG.

During this period, the plan is for our curatorial, collections, education and operation teams to reimagine the ISANG in terms of our exhibitions, our collections practices, and, to rethink our approach to educational spaces and teaching methodologies. The temporary closure will enable the refurbishment and repurposing of our spaces to drive the ISANG towards becoming a world class collections facility for the care of art heritage; a key priority to ensure accessibility for future generations.

Installation shot of Buhlebezwe’s Siwani’s AmaHubo, currently on exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery., 2022. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

“Recognised as a leading African heritage institution of excellence, the organisation is committed to reimagining Iziko Museums of South Africa to be places of creativity, innovation and discovery that empower and inspire diverse people to celebrate Art, Natural and Cultural Heritage,” says Ms Omar. She continues: “One of Iziko Museums’ most important mandates is that we be dynamic and active, constantly able to evolve, be reflective and self-reflexive. We have listened, and we want to take this time to rejuvenate the ISANG with the aim of sharing the diverse stories we hold in our collections with the people of South Africa and the rest of the world. A reimagined ISANG will draw more visitors to Iziko Museums, and will certainly create opportunities for emerging talent, for new interpretations and new discoveries.”

The ISANG will reopen in September 2022 with special thought given to content, stories and works of art that have not been adequately exhibited previously. We will seek to bring best international practice to our collections care, digitization and conservation methodologies, and we will rethink our educational offering with the aim of inspiring young people and bringing them into our galleries and museums.  

Installation shot of Hotel Hernandez’s Graduate Exhibition I: an enquiry into pedagogy, currently on exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery, 2022. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

We look forward to reopening the revitalized ISANG with a celebratory show called Breaking Down the Walls: A celebration of 150 years of the ISANG during Heritage Week 2022.

This is the last chance to view these current exhibitions: Hotel Hernandez Art School Graduate Exhibition I: An Enquiry into Pedagogy; amaHubo, a video installation by Buhlebezwe Siwani; Dreams as R-evolution is a site specific, multi-media installation by the artist, Coral Bijoux; Territories between us, and the sites at which we meet, a contemporary artistic intervention in conversation with works from the Iziko Museums art collections; as well as Framing Landscape: ‘the Picturesque’ and ‘the Sublime’ the first ever showcase of historical works drawn from the Abe Bailey Collection, the William Fehr Collection and the ISANG collection. The Iziko South African National Gallery will remain open from 09:00 until 17:00 until Thursday, 22 May 2022.

To visit one of our many museums, please visit the Iziko Museums website for more information: www.iziko.org.za. Like and follow @Iziko_Museums on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram to receive news, updates, and information about the Iziko South African National Gallery and Iziko Museums of South Africa.

Installation shot of Territories Between Us, on show ate the Iziko South African National Gallery, 2021. Photograph: Nigel Pamplin © Iziko Museums of South Africa.

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When visiting the Museums, your health and safety, and that of our staff, is of utmost importance. Please note that there are Covid-19 protocols in place to ensure the safety of both staff and visitors; we thank you for all your efforts in maintaining social distancing to keep both yourself and us safe.

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