I joined the Norval Foundation as a member after my second visit to the art museum. It has become one of my favourite places to go to, for art, coffee or a G&T with a view – the bar overlooks the artistically and botanically lush museum gardens.
One of the current exhibitions is very close to my heart: “On the Mines” by David Goldblatt.
“Shown for the first time in its entirety, On the Mines: David Goldblatt is the last exhibition that the photographer personally helped conceptualise before his death in 2018. Goldblatt is revealed as the great chronicler and documenter of South Africa: the quiet observer of how the country, its peoples, its institutions and landscape have been inscribed by politics and power.”
The photographs on display were partly published in 1973, in a book by the same title as the exhibition. The book included an essay by Nadine Gordimer, one of the countless texts I read when writing my PhD.
I cannot help but wonder whether I would be here today, living and writing in Cape Town, if it hadn’t been for Gordimer’s extraordinary work. Her writing – its beauty, probing wisdom – was my entry point to South Africa’s literature and then to the country. I will be forever grateful for the introduction. It was because Gordimer agreed to an interview that I visited South Africa for the first time fifteen years ago. The rest is history.
It is difficult to believe that she is no longer among us, but her work lives on, a great consolation. I hardly knew her, but the few hours spent in her company and the many years spent thinking and writing about her work make me miss her, a lot…
Three other stunning exhibitions can be seen at the Norval Foundation right now: the work of Yinka Shonibare and Ibrahim Mahama – thought-provoking and enthralling.
And then a collection of nudes from the Sanlam Art Collection. Not to be missed.