New art centre at University of Pretoria

By Val Boje Time of article published Aug 22, 2019

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Pretoria - A mural by Alexis Preller called Creation greets visitors to the new Javett-UP Art Centre which opens officially on Heritage Day, September 24.

The work, hidden for years in an 8th floor boardroom, was relocated from the disused Transvaal Provincial Administration building in the Pretoria CBD and is on long-loan to the Javett-UP.

During a pre-opening tour by museum director Christopher Till, vice-chancellor of the university Professor Tawana Kupe outlined the importance of the Javett-UP to the university, describing it as one of four transformative platforms.

The others are the Future Africa campus, the Engineering 4.0 campus and the just-approved Innovation Africa smart agriculture campus.
In all these, he said, partnerships with other organisations were key, and trans-disciplinary knowledge would be used to tackle the challenges of the world today. 

Javett-UP, much like the Wits art museum, was a meeting point for the exchange of ideas. 
It fits into what he described as the “UP way” of breaking down boundaries, be they between faculties, between the university and society, or South Africa and the rest of the continent. “It is about transformation and playing a part in Africa and the world,” he said.

Till paid tribute to the idea of retired businessman Michael Javett and his family foundation to make his considerable South African art collection available and said it would form the basis of the permanent collection at Javett-UP. Also on permanent display, in a section which is specially designed for it, will be the university’s Mapungubwe gold collection which includes the famed golden rhinoceros of Mapungubwe, and a dazzling West African gold collection on loan to the museum.

To open the museum Till has negotiated with various other public and private collection holders the “101 Collecting Conversations Signature Works of a Century” – a reference to not only the number and period (1920-2020) but the idea of making art accessible, and open for debate. 
Posters of some of these works are being put up around campus for a selfie competition, to encourage students to start the conversation about the art.  


Apart from the gallery space, the Javett-UP has the bridge gallery in the link-way between the main and south campus which can also be used as an events space. A student gallery and piazza links the architecture and the visual arts departments, a conservation studio, auditorium, and restaurant which looks out over the Boys High sports fields. 

Innovations at TUKS
- Javett-UP Art Centre: Joint venture between the University of Pretoria and the Javett Foundation. Situated in a new building on the south campus and connected to the main campus via a bridge. 
- Future Africa: New campus with conference and living space where Africa’s leading scientists and scholars from a broad range of disciplines can come together and undertake trans-disciplinary research to address the challenges that face Africa and the world.
- Engineering 4.0 in partnership with Sanral and CSIR, this new facility will specialise in smart transportation using data collected from the nearby N1 and N4, among others.
- Innovation Africa Agriculture: new project to re-purpose the university farm to do smart agriculture.

- Javett-UP Art Centre: Joint venture between the University of Pretoria and the Javett Foundation. Situated in a new building on the south campus and connected to the main campus via a bridge.

- Future Africa: New campus with conference and living space where Africa’s leading scientists and scholars from a broad range of disciplines can come together and undertake trans-disciplinary research to address the challenges that face Africa and the world.

- Engineering 4.0 in partnership with Sanral and CSIR, this new facility will specialise in smart transportation using data collected from the nearby N1 and N4, among others.

- Innovation Africa Agriculture: new project to re-purpose the university farm to do smart agriculture.

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