Cape Town vs Joburg: Which is Africa's art capital?

2020-02-05 16:48 - Gabi Zietsman
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Alongside the many debates involving Cape Town vs Johannesburg in South Africa, one seems to have been decided - who is the art capital of Africa.

According to a study by Corrigall & Co - a South African-based art research consultancy - Cape Town is the leader when it comes to the continent's art scene. The South African Art Market: Pricing and Patterns looked at the cities' gallery landscapes and the pricing of artists' work. 

The results are based on intensive data gathering and analysis of 52 commercial art galleries, 198 exhibitions and art fair price lists of 194 artists and interviews with industry leaders.

You also just have to join in on any First Thursday event - when the city's galleries are open until late in the evening - to see how popular this industry is with Capetonians. 

UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS FOR FIRST THURSDAY: From poke bowls to fine art photography: What to see and do this First Thursdays in your city 

graph showing art galleries in sa cities

Corrigall & Co Graph representing the tiered-status of galleries in South Africa; Joburg Versus Cape Town. More high-status galleries are located in Cape Town(Image: Corrigall & Co)

Cape Town's private art museums - like the Zeits Museum of Contemporary Art - are though to carry more institutional weight than Johannesburg's galleries, and hosts more prestigious auctions with contemporary work. 

Another feather in the cap for the Mother City is the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, where sixty galleries will come together to create the largest of its kind in Africa. It also highlights the involvement of European galleries in the art fair.

“Much of the reason that the art platforms in Cape Town enjoy a higher status is that they are located in a tourist magnet. Some galleries say up to 70% of sales in this city are to foreign visitors,” says Mary Corrigall, founder of Corrigall & Co.

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Here are some of the city's art events to diarise:

International Public Art Fest 

This truly local event gathers 25 local and international artists to paint murals in Salt River.

When: 12 - 15 February | Where: 289 Main Road, Salt River | Cost: Free street art tours

Investec Cape Town Art Fair 

Explore the diversity of contemporary art from Africa to the world.

When: 14 - 16 February | Where: Cape Town International Convention Centre | Cost: Online R160 / Door R190

Design Indaba

The premier get-together of designers, thinkers and innovators from across Africa.

When: 26 - 28 February | Where: The Artscape Theatre | Cost: R1 785 - R8 240 @ webtickets

Michaelis Graduate Exhibition

See the future of the art scene at the annual graduate exhibit of Cape Town's premier art school.

When: Usually in December every year | Where: Michaelis School of Fine Art | Cost: TBC

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