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Sunday, September 6, 2015


Plans are in hand for the establishment and development of a National Art Bank for South Africa.

The purpose of the National Art Bank (NAB) will be to identify and purchase contemporary visual artwork from emerging and established South African visual artists. The artworks will be leased for periods of two to three years, particularly to South African government departments, for display within their premises. This could be for administrative offices, reception areas and conference facilities.

Targeted organisations include provincial offices from the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Health, Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Department of Tourism and Department of Public Service and Administration. It also includes institutions or organisations such as the South African Weather Service, the Post Office, Human Sciences Research Council and others.

There will be specific emphasis on NAB’s involvement in leasing art to newly-built government buildings. In future the NAB will be involved in the conceptualisation of new buildings, as to ensure that artwork forms part of the building design. The NAB will prevent government departments from ad-hoc purchases that do not contribute to the creation of a substantial visual heritage and a collective image of the country.

In order for the collection to grow and not become too large or stagnant, one third of the works will be sold after five years. This will ensure that the NAB generates additional revenue and this income could be used for acquisitions and administration of the NAB. It is envisaged that a selection of the acquired work will form part of a contemporary art permanent collection.

After sector consultation and research, the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) appointed a service provider to do specific research on the legal aspects of establishing the NAB and to define the entity that would be required to execute the functions of the proposed NAB. It was recommended in the report, and adopted by DAC that the department enter into an agreement with Oliewenhuis Art Museum, a satellite of the National Museum in Bloemfontein, to implement the NAB concept, as the institution has the necessary skill and expertise.

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