Gauteng’s latest art centre, featuring several galleries, which can stand as a counterpoint to Cape Town’s new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art and Norval Foundation, is being built on the edges of the University of Pretoria’s Hatfield and South campuses. Named the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP) in honour of its philanthropic donor, work started in 2016 and the centre is set to open in the first half of 2019. Before we get to the art, which is really what the Javett Art Centre is all about, there is the building — and according to architect Pieter Mathews, it is easily the most challenging project his firm has worked on. He designed the centre with the aim of enabling it to forge a partnership between the university and the public. Keeping in mind that with these grand art projects the buildings have become as important as the art featured, the fact that the first concept design was penned as long ago as the end of 2012, gives a hint of the compl...

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