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Norval Foundation - An Art Museum and Cultural Centre


The Norval Foundation is an art museum and centre for cultural expression in Steenberg, Cape Town. Exhibiting a wide variety of art, their focus is on local and international visual art from the 20th and 21st century. Adjacent to the Table Mountain National Park and next door to the Steenberg Golf Club, the museum's architectural lines blend into nature with many great windows and spectacular views. Breaking free from structure, it spills into nature through the beautifully tranquil Sculpture Garden and outdoor amphitheatre.

 

Through versatile exhibition spaces and a dedicated research library, the centre seeks to expose guests to some of the greatest artists at home and abroad. Currently exhibiting the work of William Kentridge, the museum has an extensive tour of his Dada-inspired creations. Using found objects and a touch of surreal whimsy, the celebrated art and theatre legend has an unbridled passion for creating. Mechanical pieces with a musical affinity, stereoscopic art for added depth as well as massive sculptures adorn most of the ground level displays.

Kentridge has a playful yet poetic approach to his work with many recurring motifs. Taking on an interactive element, his pieces come alive through wonder and imagination. While an outright original, there are hints of David Lynch's fascination with movement and technology with a dab of Monty Python's experimental energy and humour.

Norval Foundation

Another highlight is the visual exhibition 'in Pursuit of Venus [infected]' by Lisa Reihana. The eclectic video against a painted backdrop restages historical events, both real and imagined, as the first contact between the British and Pacific people plays out. A wide projected image across an entire gallery, the New Zealand artist's piece plays out inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the ancient world. Authentic and even harrowing at times, the series of encounters create a sense of being there, interspersed and happening simultaneously with traveling audio. At 64 minutes, it's a surreal and haunting display that will resonate quite strongly with South Africa's history, echoing the story of Krotoa, which was recently adapted to film.

While the museum is laden with information, joining a tour will help you excavate the inside stories, adding another layer of context to the artwork. Upstairs a collection of artwork has been cleverly curated to sit alongside each other and serve as contrasts. Adding further nuance and counterbalancing each other to offer new dimensions, each piece is further enriched.

The Skotnes restaurant is now a favourite. Allowing plenty of natural light in through window walls, exhibiting nature in its glory and set against manicured gardens from the mind of Keith Kirsten, the exterior makes it a beautiful space. The interior's stylish furniture and decorative ceiling complement the museum's desire to create a space for art and people to co-exist. Serving up good coffee and sporting a versatile menu, it could be your new favourite meeting spot.

Norval Foundation Sculpture Garden

With musical performances and are ever-evolving art display, the Norval Foundation is a wonderous place with a fixed gaze on celebrating art and culture in our country. Whether you're visiting the museum, restaurant or staying over in the apartment, there's always a way for you to connect with what's happening at the Norval Foundation.

General admission tickets are R180 for adults and under 18s get in free. They have membership options and if you visit on first Thursdays, it's free for everyone. Open every day of the week from 10am - 6pm, except Tuesdays, there's really no excuse for you not to enjoy what the museum and centre has on offer. Even if you're not even in Cape Town you can get a sense of the place from their virtual tour.