Cape Town Art Scene Capturing Worldwide Attention

Cape Town, South Africa. Its booming art scene is capturing the attention of collectors from America and Europe. Cape Town has produced art like eloquent oil paintings by Irma Stern, sculptures made completely from bottle caps by Ghana’s El Anatsui and interconnected sculptures and paintings by Lionel Smit.

Art museums and galleries in South Africa, such as the Association of Visual Arts Gallery, are featuring such pieces for both collectors and the general public.

Sale prices are reaching new heights, as collectors bid via phone from countries across the world.

Frank Kilbourn, the executive chairman of auction house Strauss and Co, stated, “We sold approximately 106 million rands ($7.3 million) worth of art, including commission… which is a record for South Africa and for Africa as a continent.”

So far, more than 600 lots have been sold. The painting “Arab” by Irma Stern sold for more than $1.4 million alone.

Other than Lionel Smit, you can also find art pieces from South Africa’s William Kentridge and former prisoner-turned artist Blessing Ngobeni.

Investment is coming from foreign buyers not only because of South Africa’s artists, but because of the favorable exchange rate on the rand.

Darren Julien, chief executive of U.S-based Julien’s Auctions states, “Definitely, Americans and Europeans are the largest buyers of African art or South African art.”

The boom is South Africa’s art scene is also being attributed to the debut of Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art also known as MOCAA. It is regarded as the world’s largest contemporary African art museum. It has also helped spark a great deal of interest in Africa’s great artistic heritage.