Upcoming Exhibitions

To not forget: 30 years of Democracy 1994-2024
Old Arts Building, Old Arts Building
30 April 2024 to 31 December 2024

This 2024 exhibition of the University of Pretoria Museums observes and honours thirty years of democracy. To not forget, 1994-2024 features more than 30 South African artworks curated around three decades of annual acquisitions by the University Art Committee. The selected works were acquired by purchase, donation or bequest suggest transformation moments that propelled the University of Pretoria Museums in new directions after 1994. Many of the signature works are by former staff, post graduate students and Alumnus and serve as testament to the ties between the artists and the university. Since 1994, the University has acquired just over 2515 artworks to expand and improve on its art collection in terms of inclusivity, diversity, representatively and balance.

The title of this democracy themed exhibition is derived from the work by the South African Durban-born artist, Sfiso Ka-Mkame (b.1963), How could I ever forget. This artwork was selected to highlight the exhibition as it was the first acquisition made by the University of Pretoria in 1994 to honour democratic freedom. His work is built up with layers of the resplendent colourful oil pastel and ink on paper with etched symbols, patterns and designs, visually inspired by typical South African identity and reflects the political and distinctive genre of Ka Mkame’s work. Another highlight of this exhibition is partnering with ten intern students from the Department of Architecture, part of the York Timber Research Chair’s ProtoBuilding Team in a design competition in making and producing a series of small timber commemorative markers installed on the slate staircase, whereby the ‘30 stairs of democracy’ becomes a key feature to the exhibition.

To not forget reflects a journey through 30 years of democracy as the museums played a pivotal role in enhancing art for the institution. Selected works by Sello Malemane, Velapi Mzimba, Nqaba Sipunzi, Dumisani Mabaso, Mashifane Makunyane, Collen Maswanganyi, Thulani Mntungwa, Willem de Sanders Hendrikz, Hezekiel Ntuli, Isaac Seoka, Ramarutha Makoba, and Nic Sithole. Featuring female artists include: Diane Victor, Jabu Nene, Viola Greyling, Henriette Ngako, Elizabeth Roos, Sara Noche, Lerato Ntili and Susanna Swart. The upper and lower foyer’s of the Old Arts Building were deliberately chosen as the exhibition space to reflect the central axis and meeting point of the UP Museums with the student installation offering a path of thought up 30 stairs to democracy. The exhibition runs for the duration of 2024 in the upper and lower foyers of the Old Arts Building and is complimentary to the other University of Pretoria Museum galleries open to the public.


Homage to Pretoria
Bridge Gallery, Javett-UP
May 2023 to December 2023

Homage to Pretoria will present signature works predominantly drawn from the University of Pretoria’s institutional art collection. These works comprise of paintings, early maps, historical photographs, architectural drawings, models and sculptural works juxtaposed with the contemporary that are curated across time and space, drawn from a wide selection of artists.

Homage, meaning an expression of high regard or respect is aimed to be a well-balanced exhibition for UP to pay creative homage to the city, a landscape, its people and the home of Pretoria. Pretoria to some is called home, but to many others, it is a city or site of struggle, oppression, tyranny and political domination. Each work will be carefully curated, conserved and selected based on either choice of subject matter, social or political commentary, landscape, identity or reflect architecture that broadly pays homage to Pretoria as a city and home to many diverse communities. A central theme in the upcoming exhibition is the Union Buildings, spread in the interconnecting space of the Bridge Gallery to highlight Pretoria as the political seat of power, as it was in the past and as it is today.

To enhance Homage, other important artworks are loaned from several Pretoria-based partners as we directly acknowledge and appreciate the contributions made by The Wapnick Foundation, Ditsong Museums of Cultural History, Pretoria Art Museum, the private collection of Dieter Hagg and many others. Many internal partners have also generously offered to loan material such as the Department of Architecture (EBIT Faculty) UP Archives (Faculty of Humanities), Special Collections (Department of Library Services), Botanical Gardens and the Herbarium (Natural Sciences Faculty) as well as a few works from the Javett-UP collection, notably South32, and the Javett family art collection.

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