Art Beyond Walls

A walk amongst the University of Pretoria's outdoor sculpture garden

By University of Pretoria Museums

Age of Grace (2009) by Anton SmitOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

The University of Pretoria's sculpture route is located between beautiful gardens and places of knowledge and wisdom. Sculpture and art are routed into the paths students, university staff and the surrounding public experience on a daily basis.

Sundial (1987) by Mike EdwardsOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Explore the Route

In total, there are more than forty different public sculptures displayed across the University of Pretoria's campuses. These diverse works are made by distinguished South African artists. 

Mike Edwards

Edwards is mostly known for his portraiture works with over 154 portraits. Nature and the African landscape are the subjects of many of his works. The sundial created by Edwards, rests on four small tortoises moving outward. The actual dial is inscribed with the Afrikaans words: Ek tel net die sonnige ure", translated in English as "I only count the sunny hours".

Small Man (2008) by Angus TaylorOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Sculptures Walking Among People

Some sculptures are scattered over campus as a means for the viewer to engage with the space and to invite people to create conversations with their surroundings.

Medium Man (2008) by Angus TaylorOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Angus Taylor

Taylor is known for his robust and often monumental sculptural works. His works are mostly created with materials from his immediate environment in Pretoria, South Africa. Taylor created three stone men for the University of Pretoria's Hatfield campus during the university's centenary in 2008.

Sculpture Route Map (2019) by Lelani NicolaisenOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Navigating the Sculpture Route

The University of Pretoria's sculpture route provides an easy map for visitors to explore, engage and experience in their own time and at their own pace.

Shielded Man (2015) by Anton SmitOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

The Campus Guardian

The Shielded Man by the artist Anton Smit portrays a sentinel whose purpose is to guard the community and accordingly the University of Pretoria's students, staff and the local community.

Anton Smit

Anton Smit's work is known to explore themes of suffering, reconciliation, glory and transformation. Smit makes use of a variety of materials within his works as he aims to evoke emotion with their presence. 

Red Lechwes (1970) by Coert SteynbergOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Icon of the Campus

The Red Lechwes by Coert Steynberg can be found in front of the Old Arts Building where the  museums are located. This is also where the sculpture route starts and ends. Graduates usually choose to be photographed in front of this work on their graduation day. 

Coert Steynberg

Coert Steynberg is a renowned South African sculptor who works in stone, marble, bronze, copper and wood. His work is represented internationally. Steynberg is well-known for his commissioned statues however, he’s personal works are more definitive in his style. 

Reclining Figure I (1980) by Edoardo VillaOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Art for Thought

We invite you to stroll around or meander along the sculpture route. This route hopes to humanise campus spaces and stimulate thought, debate and engagement. It celebrates museum collections beyond the confines of walls, expanding cultural and artistic hubs of creativity.

Composition in Steel (1975) by Edoardo VillaOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Edoardo Villa

Edoardo Villa was a notable South African sculptor of Italian descent who became well known for his large abstract works in steel and bronze. His works can be seen in major collections over South Africa. 

Conversation (1973) by Edoardo VillaOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Conversation - A Story About Love

Conversation (1973) by Edoardo Villa depicts two abstract figures of steel, which are activated by wind. The steel taps against itself as if two figures are holding a conversation. It is believed that the work represents two people in love. 

Swimming against the current (2011) by Isaac SeokaOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Swimming Against the Current of Life

This sculptural fountain was created with the idea of fish as a symbol of knowledge, swimming upstream. According to the artist Sakkie Seoka, the university is an institution of knowledge where students must swim against the current of today in order to achieve a better future.

Sakie Seoka

Sakie Seoka works in a variety of mediums, including bronze and wood. His work is imbedded with symbolism. Seoka's love for sculpture came from his father who were a well known South African artist Dr Phuthuma Seoka.

Te Water Gelaat (2013) by Berco WIlsenachOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Save Water and Look Deeper

In this relief panel by Berco Wilsenach, water is depicted three-dimensionally as sustenance and life-giving element in the “fluid” medium of glass. Rather than actual water, glass is used as a means to visually resemble water and a whale skeleton hidden beneath.

Berco Wilsenach

Materiality is important in Wilsenach’s art as he explores the urgency of climate change, its effect on the world and the disappearance of significant species. For Wilsenach, glass as a medium is transparent and fragile and accordingly contributes to the notion of the temporality of a natural phenomena.

Dancing Hare (2011) by Guy du ToitOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Inside, Outside and On Top

The University of Pretoria always seeks exciting ways to portray art on campus. Dancing Hare by Guy du Toit is just that. The work creates a playful atmosphere as it is located behind glass in the Musaion (Music Department), in the garden and on the roof of the same building.

Guy du Toit

In his work, Guy du Toit makes use of a wide range of materials from his direct environment which contributes to the overall meaning of the works. 

Student art cluster (2010) by Fine Arts Students from the University of PretoriaOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Exciting Works By Fine Art Students

The University of Pretoria often gives students the opportunity to create works for specific projects, for example seating by lecture halls or decorative sculptures attached to buildings. These student works serve both an aesthetic and educational role.

Centenary Sculptures (2009) by Angus TaylorOriginal Source: University of Pretoria Museums

Something For Everyone

The University of Pretoria’s sculpture route is designed for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can take in the magnificent contemporary and classical works which are placed among the gardens and grounds, state-of-the-art buildings, and historical architecture. 

Credits: Story

The following persons are acknowledged for their invaluable contributions towards the research and compiling of what is known as the, " UP Museums Art Beyond Walls" a sculpture route across the Hatfield Campus: Dr Sian L Tiley-Nel (Head of the UP Museums) for content and editing, Gerard de Kamper (Curator Collections Curator), Nicole Hoffmann, (Museum Interpretative Officer) for her educational and practical input towards the engagement and flow of the route for all visitors, and Lelani Nicolaisen for map design and layout. All images are copyright to the University of Pretoria and thanks to Eyescape Photography. Research content and curated online exhibition by Lelani Nicolaisen (Art & Exhibitions Curator) and to Gerard de Kamper co-curator of the sculpture route University of Pretoria.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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