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The Julie Miller Investment Art Institute, newly arrived at the Mall of Africa, offers residents of the north fascinating insight into the booming South African contemporary art scene.

Founded and managed by Juliette Welham-Miller, the organisation focuses on bringing the best of South African art to light in an area generally considered to be outside the borders of the art world. Work from the likes of Bambo Sibiya, Tienie Pritchard, Senzo Shabangu, Layziehound, Taryn King, Olatunji Sanusi, Robyn Field and Buhle Wonder Mbambo deliver an intriguing cross section of the local art currently growing a strong reputation, internationally and locally.

“The South African art scene is booming at the moment, so it's wonderful to bring some of what's going on to the Mall of Africa, which is a different audience to the traditional art world,” says Welham-Miller. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive. People are enjoying the work thoroughly.”

The work at the Julie Miller Investment Art Institute ranges from sculpture through to paintings and charcoal drawings. Pieces are selected by a gallery committee, with the aim of exposing as wide a range as possible of themes and mediums from the country's leading and emerging names. Whether visitors are fired up by political polemic or are simply looking for something beautiful for the home, the space has a lot to offer.    

The Julie Miller Investment Art Institute is open until 8pm, seven days a week, and holds regular events featuring professional artists. “We showcase artists every month. It's a good way for viewers to find out more about the individual, have a glass of wine and to meet others in the industry. We're especially excited to be hosting Senzo Shabangu this August, with his show Moving With The Land. Senzo has worked extensively with David Krut Projects and his work is stunning, while also speaking to a lot of South African socio economic issues.”

In addition to its high profile showcases, the gallery brings new faces to light with monthly newcomer events.  

“New talent is what the business is all about,” says Welham-Miller. “We place as much emphasis on developing new careers as we do selling work from the big names. Of course a lot of hard work goes into the development of so-called new talent. Hard work from the artist, and from our team.”

Supporting the drive to develop new careers is a Not For Profit company, Friends of Talent. With donor help, Friends of Talent works with emerging artists to establish a foundation from which to move into the professional world.

“A lot of young artists don't have access to resources,” says Welham-Miller. “There are a lot of hurdles for newcomers to jump over, from concept development to technical execution, and then the whole business side, which is challenging. Friends of Talent works with people we think have what it takes, and who are already visibly active. We support new artists to help them understand what's necessary in the professional world, and then help them meet the demands.”

Mall of Africa opens a window on contemporary South African Fine Art

Author: Andrew Miller

aUGUST 2016

JULY2016 AUG2016 SEPT2016