Session 3 | Saturday 22 June 2019



Panel and Public Discussion around the emergence of new private collections, and their relation to public art and education institutions.

JAG Courtyard, 13:00-15:00


  • Michelle Constant

  • Pulane Tshabalala Kingston

  • Kutlwano Mokgojwa

  • Makgati Molebatsi

  • Moderated by Percy Mabandu


British artist Damien Hirst once said, "Buy art, build a museum, put your name on it…That’s as close as you can get to immortality”. In his book Art & Aspirations: The Randlords of South Africa and Their Collections, Michael Stevenson outlines how many of South Africa’s public collections including the JAG and the Michaelis Collection started out as private initiatives that were aimed at cementing the legacies of their progenitors. 

As part of a global trend which sees private collectors amassing large and often significant art collections, one also sees the rise of new private art institutions alongside older public museums which are often effected by decreased spending and increasingly vulnerable infrastructures. Over the past five years, South Africa has seen the opening of two new private art institutions (the Norval Foundation and Zeitz MOCAA, both in Cape Town). The privately-funded Javett-UP Art Centre at the University of Pretoria is set to open later in 2019. 

Although these new spaces can increase public viewership, there are some important things to consider for the overall future art landscape. Some salient concerns include:

  • What is the viability and long-term impact of these new spaces, and the future of the public museums which exist alongside them?

  • What impact are these institutions having on local publicly-owned and funded institutions?

  • What are some of the ways in which positive and mutually-beneficial relationships can be structured between private and public institutions? And what are the implications for the wider eco-system of South African visual arts?

  • What could/should be the State’s role (national, provincial and local) with respect to these museums? An example worth citing in this regard is the substantial support given to Zeitz MOCAA by the V&A Waterfront Company, which is an entity of the Western Cape Provincial Government. Another example is the Javett-UP Art Centre, which is in partnership with the publicly-funded University of Pretoria.

  • What are possible models for future museum sustainability in South Africa (whether public or private) with respect to collection management, audience development, financial stability and operational competency?

For more information, please contact:

James Macdonald (VIAD) | email

Musha Neluheni (JAG) | email


Michelle Constant is a seasoned media journalist and specialist, and prior to her current role as the CEO of the Constitution Hill Trust, she served as the CEO of the non-profit organisation Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) from 2008 to 2018.  

Kutlwano Mokgojwa is a Curatorial Assistant and Logistics Manager at the Javett Art Centre, University of Pretoria (UP). Before joining Javett-UP, Kutlwano served as a Curatorial and Collections assistant at the Norval Foundation in Cape Town.

Makgati Molebatsi is the founder and Director of Mak’Dct Art Advisory & Agency. As well as participating in numerous residency and awards selection committees worldwide, Makgati is part of the participating gallery selection committee for the Turbine Art Fair, and curated the Turbine Art Fair Talk Program for 2017. Makgati was also previously part of the board of the Bag Factory Artist Studios, and is currently active within the Friends of the Johannesburg Art Gallery.

Pulane Tshabalala Kingston is the Chief Executive Officer of Mathupa Capital (Pty) Limited. She is passionate about the arts and is a keen collector of contemporary African Art, with a focus on black women artists. She is also an advisory board member of Zeitz MOCAA Museum in Cape Town, sits of the Africa Committee of the Tate Museum in the UK, and is a Global Patron of Art Basel.

Click below to listen to the audio from the session: