The University of Pretoria owns over 16 000 pieces of art. According to Gerard de Kamper, curator at UP Arts, these artworks are housed all over campus. Exploring campus in search of these hidden treasures is something every student should do in their time at Tuks. To make it easier, here is Perdeby’s list of culture rich art pieces that are really worth seeing.

UP talent

Kick off your tour  at the Law Building for the works of some Pretoria-bred talent. In the main entrance on the right, the pop art inspired painting Close Up I can be found. This enormous painting was done by former UP student Angela Banks. Close Up I is a beautifully textured painting and the sheer scale of it is intriguing. The subject of a black man and white woman is portrayed with a sense of real compassion. De Kamper points out that there is a reference to Star Wars in the painting see if you can find it. After admiring this painting you can move on to the Merensky library.

A boxer and a painter

On the fifth floor of the library you will find the original sculpture Die Bokser. South African born Fanie Eloff was the first sculptor to win against the famous French artist, Auguste Rodin, in a competition with Die Bokser. If you like this sculpture, note that there will be a Fanie Eloff exhibition on campus later this year where you will be able to view more of his art. On your way back down  to the ground floor, stop on the fourth floor for the works of some younger and more recent local talent. A set of three colourful paintings entitled Morning, Afternoon and Night can be found on the way to the reserved collection. The university invested in these beautiful abstract paintings a few years ago. The paintings were done by then young and upcoming artist, Dumisani Mabaso, who is currently signed at an art gallery in Johannesburg.


Move on to the Old Arts Building and go to the first floor. The  flight of stairs to the left leads to a very intriguing painting called Witch’s Sabbath,done by Armando Baldinelli in 1981. De Kamper mentions that Baldinelli was a womaniser who liked to paint beautiful women and that this painting originally hung in Baldinelli’s own bedroom. After debating Baldinelli’s inner demons, stroll over to the Musaion. But first, stop in front of the Eduardo Villa Museum and admire the white panels outside on the grass (see picture). Eduardo Villa made these panels as his first commission work after being freed from prison where he was kept as a prisoner of war.

Chaos from Kollege

Outside the Musaion, Thijs Nel’s Vredesfontein can be found. The fountain has an interesting history. Ten years ago, during Ienk Melodienk, the fountain was literally thrown over by a first year Kollege student. According to De Kamper, it cost the university around R180 000 to repair. The big blocks on the fountain were originally turned in different ways, but after the incident the blocks were packed squarely onto each other and  filled with gravel to avoid any future incidents.

The only one in the world

March on to the top floor of the Building Sciences to see the only completed etching of the door of Ghiberti in the world. This 32 piece etching dates to the 17th century. The artist, Lorenzo Ghiberti, originally designed these doors for a Cathedral in Florence. The etching is in front of the staircase as you reach the top, where it’s concealed in a glass covering.

Oom Paul Kruger

Before trotting on to class or home, make a stop next to the Kya Rosa. On your way there from the Building Sciences keep your eyes peeled for a marker on the right that indicates the memorial stone. There are some steps right next to the marker leading the way to the memorial piece that will be found on your left. The memorial is very special as the rocks and surrounding trees came from Paul Kruger’s farm, Boekenhoutfontein, near Rustenburg. Mike Edwards made the plaque of Paul Kruger’s head that can be seen on the rock. Edwards also made the statue of Oom Gert situated at Tukkiewerf.

Photo: Michelle Prins

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