If you want to discover the rich and vibrant South African culture and how it has evolved over time, a trip to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in the Eastern Cape is definitely an eye-opening experience.

Did you know?

Famous South African artist Walter Battiss was born in the Eastern Cape town of Somerset East.

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum is home to an impressive collection, ranging from British and Oriental art, international printmaking, and art from, and of, the local Eastern Cape. Even St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, the entrance to which you’ll find the museum, is a piece of art created by Mother Nature herself.

The limited exhibition space means that there is a constant rotation of artworks from the museum’s large, permanent collection. So there’s always something new to see at the gallery.

The permanent collection is mainly retrospective. The museum, however, features art from across the historical spectrum at its temporary exhibitions. Highlights from the permanent collection includes works by renowned artists such as Henry Moore, David Hockney, Marc Chagall, Honore Daumier and Rembrandt van Rijn. The Orient is represented by a selection of Indian miniatures, Japanese wood-block prints and Chinese items from the Qing dynasty.

This art gallery has also collected artworks by prominent South African artists for over 50 years. Some of the gallery's recent contemporary acquisitions include works by some of South Africa's top artists, like Berni Searle, Conrad Botes, Diane Victor and Nicholas Hlobo.

One of the most interesting parts of the museum’s collection is the art that comes from the local area, representing the spirit of the Eastern Cape. Learn about the artistic history of the city and the province through some famous local artists, including Walter Battiss and George Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba. The museum is also home to art projects like the award-winning Keiskamma Art Project which is a rare treat.

The gallery has now been incorporated into the Arts Precinct of Nelson Mandela Bay, where you can stroll through many arts venues including Route 67, Athenauem, the Ron Belling Art Gallery and artEC.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum
Tel: +27 (0) 41 506 2000
E-mail: artmuseum@mandelametro.gov.za

How to get here

The Gallery is in central Port Elizabeth, easily accessible by car, taxi and bus.

Best time to visit

The Art Museum is open seven days a week, except 1 January, Good Friday, Freedom Day, Workers' Day, Youth Day & Christmas Day. Weekdays: 9am - 6pm (closed Tuesday mornings); Saturdays, Sundays: 1pm - 5pm; Public Holidays: 2pm - 5pm; first Sunday of the month: 9am - 2pm.

Around the area

The gallery is at the entrance to the famous and beautiful St George's Park, which is worth a visit in its own right.

What will it cost

Admission to the gallery is free, except for events with advertised fees.

What's happening

The Nelson Mandela Bay Arts Journey will introduce you to all of Nelson Mandela Bay's creative events.

Best buys

The museum’s shop offers an interesting selection of books, catalogues, cards, gifts, posters, reproductions and other items.

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