I find that many lovers of fashion are also lovers of art. Fashion designers are also their own kind of artists after all. Just like my interest in jazz, I can’t pretend to be a guru on the subject at all, but I do appreciate art and like to expose my young daughter to it when I can. So these holidays when we travel to Cape Town, we’ll be visiting a few sculpture gardens, exhibiting glorious South African and African artworks. What better way to spend a day? The wild scent of Fynbos, abundant springtime flora and a mindful meander amidst monumental bodies of art.
Impressive sculptural works by both local and international artists are finding a home at wine farms and sculpture gardens in and around Cape Town. The rich biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom offers a spectacular backdrop for these exhibitions, integrating man-made and natural beauty. We’ll be combining our outing with some delicious lunch and wine tasting options nearby.
Here’s a selection of the five finest unmissable sculpture gardens this holiday season, just a short drive away from Cape Town:
Norval Foundation, Steenberg
The vast Sculpture Garden at Norval Foundation bursts into bloom at this time of year, featuring three-dimensional installations by artists from South Africa, from the rest of Africa and from all over the world. This unique and still somewhat undiscovered Sculpture Garden, bisected by a protected Cape lowland freshwater wetland and surrounded by the natural beauty of the Western Cape, boasts indigenous flora alongside the art foundation itself. Artworks are a mixture of long-term loans and work from the Norval Foundation Homestead Art Collection, which are installed permanently. The spectacular gardens and the impressive array of sculptural work, followed by lunch with a view at The Skotnes Restaurant, will make the quick 30-minute drive out of Cape Town a rewarding and memorable outing.
Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, Stellenbosch
Another little-known outdoor art destination about 40 minutes drive from Cape Town is this sculpted indigenous garden in Stellenbosch, showcasing 60 of Dylan Lewis’ works. In this garden of private myth, the artist explores the Jungian notion of ‘the wilderness within’. Widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost sculptors of the animal form, Lewis initially focused on the big cats; in recent years, he has used the human figure to explore our relationship with our inner wilderness. Although the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden doesn’t offer lunch, there are some incredible gourmet options nearby. Try Rust en Vrede Restaurant or the restaurants by Bertus Basson in Stellenbosch central: Spek & Bone and the new Eike Restaurant.
Almenkerk Wine Estate, Elgin
Situated in the Elgin valley, east of Cape Town, Almenkerk is a small family-owned and -run farm. The farm hosts various curated sculpture exhibits throughout the year. Dirk Durnez, a founding member of the Cape Town Art Agency which represents Belgian and South African artists, is also a founder of [email protected] with incredible art pieces curated by Gordon Froud. It’s an interesting mix of large scale sculptures and contemporary paintings. Round off your visit with a tasting at the wine cellar and tasting room nestled on the mountain-side with spectacular views over the Elgin and Kogelberg Mountains. Then head to one of the nearby restaurants such as Salt at Paul Cluver or The Pool Room at Oak Valley to make your art outing well worth the hour’s drive from Cape Town.
Located about 45 minutes from Cape Town, the wine estate Tokara in Stellenbosch is the embodiment of GT Ferreira’s philosophy that good wine, good food and good art go together to culminate in a good lifestyle. The connection with fine art has been extended to the winery entrance which houses a gallery of curated art and a sculpture garden located at Tokara Delicatessen. The tranquil paths lead around extensive sculptures admired as visitors stroll through.
Grande Provence, Franschhoek
An extension of The Gallery, The Sculpture Garden at Grande Provence – about an hour’s drive from Cape Town – has a continually evolving collection of monumental works in a variety of media. South African artist Anton Smit’s sculptures currently reside at The Sculpture Garden. Pieces from his “Masks” and “Female Figures” can be viewed on the estate. Try the Grande Provence Restaurant or take a drive to Franschhoek itself, home to a myriad of incredible dining options.
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