Press Releases - The Barnard Gallery

Nestled within the Oak tree-lined, quaint streets and stylish speciality stores of Newlands Village, the Barnard Gallery occupies a distinctive place in South Africa’s contemporary art world. Established in March 2010 by owner and director Christiaan Barnard, it has evolved from its roots in Pa Kua – a cutting-edge, design studio created by Christiaan in 1999 – into a dynamic hub for the visual arts. With its sparsely adorned, expansive, double-volume space and street-level access it attracts viewers from across the city. And it serves, not merely as a passive backdrop, but almost as a contemporary installation in itself, complementing and interacting with the exhibitions on display.

As such, the gallery embodies Christiaan’s twin passions: to showcase the art he loves and to encourage engagement between artworks, artists and art lovers. Although the Barnard Gallery is the proverbial new kid on the block, it is rapidly establishing itself as a locus for renowned names in the art world and as a site for new and provocative visions, through which a multitude of media , iconographies and visual dialects are being explored.

Both internationally and in South Africa, the art world has become too vast for any one style or movement to dominate. While volatile financial systems continue to gyrate from recessionary after-shocks, the contemporary art market has largely recovered from the crash of 2008. This has been accompanied by a creative resurgence as artists rigorously interpret these economically and politically fraught times.

The Barnard Gallery has embraced the hybridity of contemporary cultural discourse; be it through the strident, mixed media assemblages produced by Willie Bester, the rich mythological motifs of Robert Slingsby; Tracey Payne’s sensuous, meditative drawings, Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi’s epic, politically-charged imagery or the quirky dystopian eye of Barry Sullivan.

We are delighted to be participating in this year’s Joburg Art Fair – the only one of its kind in Africa – and proud to be featured alongside South Africa’s most respected galleries. This prestigious event constitutes the realisation of our mission: to showcase the work of our artists beyond the conventional confines of the gallery, to provide them with a networking platform, to facilitate greater access to art and to firmly consolidate the Barnard Gallery’s place in the landscape of contemporary visual culture.

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