Where to Find the Best African Art in South Africa

Etched Space/Courtesy Ellerman House

From Jo’burg to Cape Town, these African art galleries feature some of the best work in South Africa and the entire continent.

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As you travel through South Africa, whether in Pretoria preparing for a safari, in Johannesburg to experience the burgeoning design scene, or in Cape Town for the Table Mountain views, these are the art galleries you’ll want to visit. 

The Melrose Gallery, Johannesburg

In the Melrose Arch precinct of Johannesburg, The Melrose Gallery is a celebration of modern African art. Featuring exclusively art made in Africa, the ultra-contemporary Melrose Arch space is well-lit with minimalist white walls to ensure no design element detracts from the art. Hosting solo and group exhibitions throughout the year, as well as the largest sculpture fair in South Africa, The Melrose Gallery cultivates a creative safe space for both young, contemporary artists and sage professors and doctors of South African art. In addition to the Melrose Arch location, The Melrose Gallery has a second gallery at the One&Only Cape Town, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property.

Tay Dall Studios 1, 2, and 3, Hermanus

When you visit Tay Dall’s studio, you have the privilege of interacting with both the art and the artist. Her stunning home, set on babbling brook-side land in coastal Hermanus, is her own personal gallery come to life. She often welcomes guests interested in purchasing her art—or guests of nearby luxury lodge Arabella Country Estate, which displays her work. Her contemporary, abstract art is thought-provoking and distinctly feminist. Working primarily with acrylic or oil on canvas and found objections, her home Studios 1, 2, and 3 (Studio 3 has the newest work) are a stunning venue to view the artist’s work.  

Ellerman House, Cape Town


Etched Space/Courtesy Ellerman House 

Ellerman House is perhaps first known as the gorgeous Relais & Chateaux property in Cape Town, with a stunning outdoor area and a Riviera-esque view of the ocean. Ellerman House, thanks to collector Paul Harris, is also home to one of the biggest collections of African art, with more than 1,000 pieces. Visitors can take a full Ellerman House gallery tour, which takes about an hour and a half and delves into the history of South Africa through art. Ellerman House also has a thought-provoking contemporary art gallery and a wine gallery, unlike anything you’ve seen before, that offers a visual interpretation of the South African terroir. 

What If The World Gallery


Courtesy What If The World Gallery

Right on the edge of the Bo’Kaap district of Cape Town, What If The World showcases provocative art from rising stars in African art. One such artist, Athi Patra Ruga, who is currently collaborating with Dior on an iconic bag, often works on three-dimensional installations housed within What If the World Gallery. The gallery is situated near both up-and-coming East City, the Cape Malay quarter of Bo’Kaap, and the pervasive, former District Six where Africans were forcibly removed during apartheid. Young artist Tanya Peterson, whose family is from District Six, has a series of work reimagining District Six on display at What If The World Gallery, which is the type of inspiring African art you’ll encounter at this space. 

David Krut Projects, Johannesburg

In the Maboneng Precinct, which is one of the Jo’burg neighborhoods lauded for their artistic and inventive urban regeneration project, you’ll find art around every corner. And that includes the neighborhood’s still relatively new shipping container apartments, a major South African design feat in 2018. At Arts of Main in Maboneng, you’ll find David Krut Projects, which is simultaneously a print workshop, a gallery, and a bookstore. Arts of Main is a cool, brick-walled artist hub to explore while visiting Johannesburg, and the studio home-base of David Krut Projects is worth visiting to learn about their extremely deliberate monotype printing process. If the printing journey is less appealing to you, you’ll still be awed by the finished prints displayed within the gallery—and their book selection, for that matter.