Temporary Exhibitions

University of Pretoria Museums

Temporary Annual Principal’s Exhibition - Rectorate

The [South] African Landscape: Social, Political and Environmental Conversations



Location:                                 Principal’s foyer, Administration Building and Old Arts Building Foyer- Hatfield Campus

Curators:                                 Gerard de Kamper and Lelani Nicolaisen

Exhibition title:                        The [South] African Landscape: Social, Political and Environmental Conversations

Collection:                               University of Pretoria Art Collection

Curatorial Statement:              Lelani Nicolaisen, Curator Museum Art Exhibitions & Galleries

Duration:                                 January to December 2020


The ‘landscape’ in art is an ever-growing theme and an ongoing global conversation, especially within South Africa where the term ‘landscape’ is imbued with varied meanings beyond the physical. Currently, the ‘landscape’ is a sensitive topic within the pages of our newspapers, in our courts, within our homes and is associated to art, heritage, politics, architecture, geography and many other disciplines. The landscape, our beautiful pride and natural heritage is always in question, whether it is of social, political or of environmental concern. It has been a continuing and favoured topic for artists to express themselves. The ‘landscape’ as a theme within art, may furthermore immerse the artist within their surroundings during the act of creating art. This temporary annual exhibition, The [South] African Landscape: Social, Political and Environmental Conversations, takes a view at this topic, seen through the variety of artworks done by South African artists within the University of Pretoria’s Art Collection curated by the University of Pretoria Museums.


A diversity of art mediums depicts the topic of the landscape in this exhibition, in which social, political and environmental challenges in the landscape may be confronted through art as a form of outcry. Therefore, in the exhibition, the landscape is a critical voice for our South African landscape and the challenges of destruction and degradation it faces because of its human inhabitants. It is meant to explore the conversations between artworks by upcoming, contemporary and some of South Africa’s most significant artists in the institution’s museum art collection. Conversations are for example, being formed from aesthetically pleasing landscape paintings of trees, clouds and mountains by the artist Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957), where the chaos brought by humans are intentionally excluded in his works (Berman 1993:328), to a sculpture made of Jacaranda wood by Avitha Sooful (b 1964), which questions the intentions behind the various land acts during Apartheid South Africa (Tempo 2016:51). The ‘landscape’ as a theme in art keeps enveloping us in our everyday existence, it is both contested and appreciated and in some cases the landscape is fragile, vulnerable, ever-changing in different seasons- yet many artists’ favourite firm subject. Looking at the word ‘landscape’ as generally defined, it is not only defined as a land area with natural “… characteristics and features …”, but also a picture representing a countryside view of a landscape, “… or its representation in a painting.” Within art and heritage, landscape can be both natural and cultural as well as living, tangible and intangible. In the exhibition, a simple word - landscape explores various questions and approaches to the landscape by South African artists through different periods in time. A selection of 56 artworks around the theme of the landscape envelopes the Rectorate’s Foyer, The foyer of the Old Arts Building, home to the University of Pretoria Museums has a mirrored exhibition of landscape, also taken from the museum art collection to showcase a select few landscape works within a museum landscape.


Selected Artists (in alphabetical order)

Rectorate Foyer- Administration Building

Philip Badenhorst (b 1954), Gregoire Boonzaier (1909-2005), Esias Bosch (1923-2010), Angelique Bougaard (b 1993), Julietta Carimbwe (b 1960), Christo Coetzee (1929-2000), Nerine Desmond (1908-1993), Joao Dikuanga (b 1927), Elfriede Dreyer (b 1953), Wanda Eloff, Zakkie Eloff (1925-2004), George Enslin (1919-1972), Abrie Fourie (b 1969), Viola Greyling (b 1997), Suzette Grobbelaar (b 1955), Magda Joubert (b 1960), Bongi Kasiki (b 1965), David Koloane (1938-2019), Erik Laubscher (1927-2013), Maggie Laubser (1886-1973), Ramarutha Makoba (b 1984), Abraham Makubula (1966-2007), Manuel Masseka (b 1946), Walter Meyer (1965-2017), Lize Muller (b 1988), Andre Naudé (b 1950), Freciano Ndala (b 1947), Sam Nhlengethwa (b 1955), Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957), Ruth Prowse (1883-1967), Ian Relelinghuys (b 1949), Liezl Roos (b 1968), Nico Roos (1940-2008), Isaac Seoka (b 1967), Kunyanda Shikamo (b 1954), Avitha Sooful (b 1964), Michael Teffo (b 1957), Gunther van der Reis (b 1927), John van Reenen (1947-2018), Andrew Walford (b 1942).


Old Arts Building Foyer (entrance)

Katunga Carimbwe (b 1958), Erich Mayer (1876-1960), Karin Pienaar (b 1988), Lizel Roos (b 1986), /Tuoi Samcuia (b 1950), Gustav Vermeulen (b 1967).

- Author Lelani Nicolaisen & Nicole Hoffmann
Published by Nicole Hoffmann

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