Tracey Rose (1974), Lucie’s Fur 1:1:1 The Messenger (detail), 2002, Lambda photograph 84 x 63cm


The mission of the SABC Art Collection is, first and foremost, to establish a public collection worthy of a national broadcaster and representative of the creative output of South African visual artists, both historical and contemporary. It is also our aim to use the Collection to build and broaden understandings of visual art, and to further its use as a mode of social engagement.

In curatorial approach, we strive to be representative across race, gender, historical period, style and medium. We seek to inhabit contradiction and evoke emotion through the thoughtful display and juxtaposition of the art works in the Collection.

As expressed in the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999, the SABC’s mandate is to encourage ‘the development of South African expression by providing a wide range of programming that refers to South African opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity’ and, more specifically, ‘enrich the cultural heritage of South Africa by providing support for traditional and contemporary artistic expression’.

A national broadcaster is a vehicle for the transmission of social ideas, values, problems, crises and events. At its best, it conveys, mediates and interprets human action and value. In this, it has strong similarities to the visual arts, which can be the touchstone of a nation, functioning as one of the most acute registers of social life: issues, values, principles and current affairs close to people’s hearts and minds are upheld or contested through the medium of art.

In keeping with this mandate, the SABC Art Collection is an ongoing and always unfinished project reflecting not only South Africa’s cultural diversity and social realities, but also providing a space for the display of the well-established, but always emergent creativity and individuality of our artists.


Gladys Nomfanekiso Mgudlandlu (1917 – 1979), Landscape (detail), gouche on board, 40 x 64cm