December 10, 2016
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Housed in a beautifully renovated Edwardian house in the heart of the Mother City, The New Church is an impressive first for Cape Town – a private, non-commercial art gallery and museum. 


Simply named for the Street on which it’s situated, the museum was opened to the public in 2012. Established by art collector Piet Viljoen, he created this beautiful space to make contemporary South African and African art accessible to the public by exhibiting selections of his personal contemporary African art collection.

The New Church invites guest curators to showcase different aspects of collections through temporary exhibitions and each collection thus reflects the diversity of contemporary African and South African art through the eyes of the curator at the time.


The current exhibition is Deborah Poynton’s Model for a World – A Survey of 25 Years of Painting (13 May – 26 July 2014). Housed on both floors, you can expect to spend a very revealing and informative half hour at the museum – or longer should you be as enthralled as I was by her work. The curator, Candice Allison, is happy to walk you through the exhibition, explaining the works as you go.


Deborah paints on average 7 hours a day – and has done for years.  Her attention to detail and the raw beauty of her work is breathtaking. From the minute I stepped through the front door I was mesmerised by the larger than life and incredibly detailed works adorning the pristine walls. From her first small drawings in A4 frames to the incredibly detailed portraits filling whole walls, Deborah’s artistic journey over more than two decades is beautifully catalogued.


Poynton’s technique is unique in that she starts by photographing her subjects: people she knows and with whom she feels a particular affinity, so that she is able to use them in her paintings to convey states of being. Therefore one painting is often an amalgamation of several photographs; a compilation composed and created from the artist’s imagined amalgamation of individual shots.


The next exhibition which debuts in October, Pop goes the Revolution, is a complete departure from Poyton’s realism in that it harnesses artworks which depict and embrace a generation that spoke a different and very new language in its heyday. It captures the moment in time when Andy Warhol was king and the art world was looking to immortalize its foray into the new and unknown.


Even though I have driven past the property countless times, I only recently discovered the treasures housed within, and am amazed it’s remained such a secret. It offers an informal introduction to contemporary art which both locals and visitors should take the time to explore.


Just hop off the bus on the Red Tour at Jewell Africa on Buitengracht Street, and a short stroll further you will be welcomed by a friendly and enthusiastic curator who will proudly walk you through the exhibition.

Admission is free and all are welcome.

Tuesday and Thursday: 12h00 to 15h00
Saturday: 11h00 to 15h00

102 New Church Street, Tamboerskloof,Cape Town, 8001

T: +27 (0)71 1738687

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