This is Javett-UP - home to the art of Africa | Art Blog
× artists exhibitions training blog shop

Art Blog

This is Javett-UP - home to the art of Africa

Posted on 22 August 2019

The Javett Art Centre (Javett-UP) stands tall in Pretoria's busy Lynnwood road overlooking the University of Pretoria's main campus. The building offers something new to Pretoria, specifically in the art and museum arena, offering the public the opportunity to see iconic works of South African art and priceless treasures such as the Mapungubwe Gold collection.

Possibly likened to the Zeitz MOCCAA in Cape Town, the modern world-class the space designed by Mathews & Associates links the academic and public through accessibility and appreciation of African art with the aim to create conversations about Africa's past, present and future.

Left: Interior of Javett-UP | Right: Bridge over Lynwood Road

Upon entry, visitors will be greeted by a formidable Alexis Preller work that hasn't been seen in 30 years. Discovery was completed in the 1960s and will undergo live conservation in situ as part of the MSocSci in Tangible Heritage Conservation at UP.

The nine vast exhibition spaces await to be filled with pieces from various public and private collections. The most significant is the prized modern South African art collection of the Javett family, the drivers behind Javett-UP's creation. Michael Javett, a passionate patron of the arts, wished to invest in a vehicle that would allow the public to access his significant collection.

Preparations for the opening exhibition

The space opens on 24 September 2019 with three ground-breaking exhibitions featuring more than 100 significant South African artworks. This is the first time that all these works will be shown at the same time.

"The official opening of Javett-UP is the launch of an extremely valuable and significant resource," says Christopher Till, Director of Javett-UP. "It is the culmination of a vision to personalise the art of Africa and to make it more accessible."

Some of the iconic works that will be on show include Irma's Stern's Arab Priest; Gerard Sekoto's Song of the Pick, Johannes Phokela's Chocolat, Alexis Preller's Red Angel, Zanele Muholi's Simthembile I, East London; Johannes Maswanganye's Jesus is Walking on Water, Jackson Hlungwane's Crucifix and William Kentridge's Felix in Exile; amongst others.

The Javett-UP is a much anticipated landmark in the Pretoria landscape where permanent and temporary exhibitions, multi-disciplinary events and research initiatives hope to bridge the gap between art and the people.

For more information, visit

Gerard Sekoto, Yellow Houses

Walter Battiss, African Figures

Like this post? Sign up and get curated South African art and news straight to your inbox


Allen Laing creates a series of mixed media sculptural inventions

Winner of the prestigious Cassirer Welz Award announced