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Curator & Collector

Q&A

Everard Read's new gallery space: why Leeu Estates?

Charles Shields, owner-director of Everard Read Cape Town, shares the origins and opportunities of the contemporary new gallery space on Leeu Estates in Franschhoek

How did Everard Read Leeu Estates come about?

What’s fascinating about Franschhoek is that more people go through our high street gallery than all our other Everard Read galleries put together. It’s a remarkable space to gain exposure for our artists. Mr Singh has been a great fan of our gallery over the years, so when he developed the extension to Leeu Estates it was a natural fit for the atmosphere of the estate.  The new space was a blank canvas, and an opportunity.

It’s a larger space, with gardens. Is there a specific focus on the works shown here?

Monumental sculpture has become a large part of our exhibition program over the past decade, but these works don’t often get the chance to be seen in the kind of environment they are meant to inhabit.  The space also has a museum quality about it, which demands a different type of artwork.

Are these permanent exhibitions, or do they vary through the year?

This gallery, and the gardens, gives us the space for those works, and the opportunity to run longer exhibitions. Also, all of the works around the gallery are for sale.

Tell me about the artist-in-residence programme?

The residency is for artists that we represent, who want to take a break from their routine. It’s a space for artists to retreat to, whether preparing for a show or otherwise. It’s a space for them to dream.

The residency drives some of the content, and often the works made there respond to the environment, and the headspace the artist is in when retreating to a place like Franschhoek. Increasingly there will be works that respond to the garden, and works made specifically for that site. Artists that were on residency in 2021 were Blessing Ngobeni and Teresa Firmino (together), Nelson Makamo, Nandipha Matambo and Setlamorago Mashilo.

Mr Singh has been a great fan of our gallery over the years, so when he developed the extension to Leeu Estates it was a natural fit for the atmosphere of the estate
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