Stellenbosch University
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Former Director of Iziko speaks at SU Museum
Start: 23/10/2019, 13:00
End: 23/10/2019, 14:00
Contact:Natasha Coltman - 021 808 3691
Location: Stellenbosch University Museum

Former Director of Iziko speaks at SU Museum


Marilyn Martin, former director of Iziko South African National Gallery and honorary Research Associate at the University of Cape Town (UCT), will visit Stellenbosch as part of a lunchtime conversation about her book, Between Dreams and Realities: A History of the South African National Gallery, 1871–2017, on Wednesday 23 October at Stellenbosch University Museum.

Martin's book is based on extensive research and experience. She also revisits important exhibitions, events and forgotten controversies. The book also highlights the achievements of directors, who often faced political agendas, strained relationships within and outside the institution, and celebrates South Africa's heritage, art history and cultural wealth.

The distinction between public and private museums has not received much attention but, with the arrival of major private initiatives in Cape Town, it is opportune to revisit nomenclature that we take for granted and to begin a discussion on the differences, similarities and intersections.

Some of the questions Martin will be discussing during her talk are:

  • Who wields the power now that our established but struggling national and municipal art museums have sunk into the shadows?
  • Have males, money and the market captured the art museum space?
  • Are the new private (self-described as “public") institutions immune from critique and scrutiny?
  • What is the national Department of Sports, Arts and Culture doing?

In May 2001, after eleven years as director of the South African National Gallery, Martin was appointed director of Art Collections for Iziko Museums. Prior to her career in the museum sector, she was senior lecturer in the Department of Architecture at Wits University.

Since her retirement from Iziko Museums in 2008, she has been working as an independent writer and curator. She was a Visiting Professor at Kingston University, United Kingdom (2008–2011) and a senior scholar at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, and lecturing in Visual and Art History, UCT. In July 2016, she was appointed as an Honorary Research Associate at UCT.

Martin was a member of the National Arts Council from 1997 to 2004 and a trustee of the Arts and Culture Trust until 2007. In 2010 she was appointed to the Council of Iziko Museums and served for three years.

Martin has participated in conferences, both nationally and internationally, and has written numerous articles on art and culture in national and international publications. Her biographical listings include Who's Who of Southern Africa and The International Who's Who of Women.

In 2002, Martin was admitted to the Legion of Honour of the Republic of France at the rank of Officer and in 2013, she received the medal of the Foundation Alliance Française in Paris.

Copies of Martin's book, Between Dreams and Realities: A History of the South African National Gallery, 1871–2017, will be on sale at the event.

Entrance is free. To secure a seat, RSVP to Natasha Coltman at 021 808 3691 or Refreshments will be served after the presentation.


Conversation info:

  • Venue: Stellenbosch University Museum (previously the Sasol Art Museum), 52 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
  • Date: 23 October 2019
  • Time: 13:00–14:00
  • Contact: Ricky Brecht at or (021) 808 3660