South Africa: New Art Gallery in Pretoria Pulls Together an Extraordinary Collection of South African Art


An exciting new privately funded arts facility opens in Pretoria on Heritage Day, pulling together some great opening exhibitions to set a high bar for the future.

The new Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria is about to open - on 24 September 2019 - and we are talking to its director, Christopher Till, as we walk through the galleries, before we sit for a bit in his office. Till seems preternaturally calm, like a cheerful Zen Buddhist monk replete with contentment, even as newly delivered artworks for the opening exhibition are being unwrapped and placed on the floor in designated locations.

Till should be tense, even agitated, his face a perpetual frown, what with so much left to be done, so much work planned for display that is not even in the building. The special museum display lights are not installed, let alone focused appropriately on the works to be showcased.

Instead, he stands there calm, happy, smiling. He must be seeing the whole of it, complete, the rooms filled with crowds, all in his mind's eye, virtually willing the actual centre and everything in it to fall into place.

The Javett Art Centre is...

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