Skip to content

South Africa’s Newest Art Hub

So when the first-ever Stellenbosch Triennale began last month, and artists mingled with Afrikaner finance types at the opening-night party while hip DJs from Cape Town spun Nigerian and Congolese dance hits, even the organizers who intended this effect did a double-take. “I did look around many times, and just smile,” Andi Norton, a board member of the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust, the civic group behind the triennale, said the next day. “It was a group of people that I hadn’t thought I would ever see in the same place.” It’s an unexpected place for a contemporary art exhibition — particularly of the experimental, pan-Africanist variety, with artists from around the continent, none of them white, exploring economic and cultural themes led by a curator steeped in black feminism and Xhosa spirituality. Stellenbosch is an hour’s drive from Cape Town, and the triennale underscores the region’s emergence as a global art hub. Cape Town’s art fair is Africa’s biggest; the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which opened in 2017, and the Norval Foundation’s art museum, from 2018, are world-class venues.