The beloved UCT Irma Stern Museum turns 50!
We see the anniversary as an invaluable opportunity to celebrate this cultural gem with a stimulating schedule of exhibitions, events and workshops and to place a special focus on the work, life and collections of Irma Stern.
We look forward to inviting you over the following months to be part of the programme. We are especially excited by the high-profile artist-in-residency project planned to mark the anniversary. The first exhibition, by internationally recognised contemporary artist Athi-Patra Ruga, runs from 23 March to 18 June 2022, followed by the stellar Georgina Gratrix as artist-in-residence from July to September 2022. Her show will open in October. Celebrated composer and sound artist Neo Muyanga will be artist-in-residence from October onwards.
Parallel to this, the museum will continue to run its ongoing education programme, which this year is partly funded by the National Art Council. The museum will also host regular LGBTIQA+ Safe Space workshops throughout the year.
Walking through the character-laden rooms in the museum, you can almost imagine Irma striding into the living room, or pausing, brush in hand, before the easel, which remains erect in her studio. It is at times difficult to believe that she was last in this home in 1966, the year in which she died at the Volkshospitaal, now the Cape Town Gardens Mediclinic. In her Will, Irma Stern left her house and the property in it in a Trust with the intention to advance the arts in South Africa and abroad. Whilst Stern never envisaged a museum, a partnership between the Irma Stern Trust and the University of Cape Town (UCT) means that since 1972 the house and property known as “The Firs” have been a museum to inspire the people of Cape Town and beyond.
The image accompanying this newsletter shows the headline of an article from 9 June 1970 announcing the museum-to-be. After two further years of renovation and re-installation, the actual museum opened in July 1972.
All the best, stay safe, and we hope you will join us in the celebrations.
With best wishes from the ISM Team