'Phaphama' is a Zulu word that means 'Awaken yourself'
The heart:
The Two Figures:
The ‘Nuclear Symbol’:
The Circle:
The Exclamation Mark:

A Tour of the African Art Section of the Johannesburg Art Gallery

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This is a two hour tour led by one of the few African art specialist tour guides in Johannesburg. The tour covers the history of the gallery and the traditional African treasures it houses, which is acknowledged as the most representative collection of art, excluding Islamic art, in sub-Saharan Africa; indeed a very significant collection. You will also view works of one or two important contemporary African artists.

Should you wish to buy African art, please set aside some time as we will put you in touch with the tour guide who will connect you up with contemporary artists in and around Johannesburg.

Summary of themes that will be covered on this tour:

* the gallery’s place in the context of the city
* the origins and mineral wealth of Johannesburg
* the background to the gallery’s creation
* the early collection, which is a fine Eurocentric collection, indicative of the very high quality of some of the early acquisitions, including the Epstein and the Rodin
* the racist attitudes of the directors and committees in the first half of the 20th century, focusing especially on the effect this had on the production of art in black communities everywhere
* the role of Rorke’s Drift in the development of South African art
* the genre of ‘struggle art’, pointing out perhaps two such artists e.g. Kentridge and whoever is on show at any particular time.

The masks shown on this page are part of the MTN Collection of the Johannesburg Art Gallery

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masks 1
masks 2
masks 3
masks 4