Step outside of the galleries and discover Stellenbosch outdoors art – a wealth of diversity and imagination that colour the historic oak-lined streets. Stellenbosch has earned a reputation as a premier art destination, and its 20 plus spectacular galleries are world-renowned, not to mention the well-curated collections of several wineries.
But the city and its surrounds have themselves become a living exhibition of art. Get your art fix and discover sculptures and installations on street corners, parks and gardens.
Next time you find yourself in the town, keep an eye open for Stellenbosch outdoors art – some are hard to miss while others blend seamlessly into the public spaces.
We’ve curated some of our favourites:
Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden
If you’ve heard one name attributed to outdoor art in Stellenbosch, it is very likely to be Dylan Lewis’. Known for his bronze work, Lewis has exhibited his sculptures prominently in Stellenbosch for many years. And now, the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden serves as a permanent home for the artist’s vision.
Find it: Dylan Lewis Studio and Sculpture Garden, Mulberry Farm, Paradyskloof Road.
You also don’t even need to head to the sculpture garden to see his mastery. Spot his iconic big cat sculptures dotted around the streets of Stellenbosch.
Find them: Next to D-Gallery in Dorp Street, and head on up to Jan Marais Nature Reserve in Marais.
De Nieuwe Molen water wheel
Stellenbosch streets are filled with living history. Spot the De Nieuwe Molen iron water wheel that dates to 1749.
Find it: Mill Street, Stellenbosch
Daniël Hartman Craven statue
Find the statue of the late Daniël Hartman Craven (Doc) and his beloved dog on the grounds of the university. He’s an honorary citizen of the rugby-loving town, through his association with the university and the rugby football club for more than half a century. Jannie Engelbrecht President of the Stellenbosch Rugby Football Club unveiled the statue on 23 May 1995.
Find it: At the Coetzenburg sports complex of Stellenbosch University.
Huguenot Commemorative Reliéf
These three commemorative plaques are living art, commemorating the culture and lives of the French Huguenots in Stellenbosch. Find similar monuments in Wellington, Paarl and Franschhoek.
Find it: Outside the public library in Plein Street.
Nelson Mandela Square
Did you know Stellenbosch has its own Nelson Mandela Square? Renowned landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwe completed the town’s Nelson Mandela Square. This piece of public art honours Madiba, designed to draw viewers to the town centre. The design consists of iron silhouettes of Mandela’s face on two sides of a wall.
Find it: In front of the Town Hall in Plein Street.
‘Old Mac’ bronze statue
Find Old Mac, a 2.1-metre bronze statue of a gold mine prospector pausing over his shovel in contemplation. Madge and George Lang created the figure in 1956, commissioned by the Rand Mines Chairperson. The status was previously placed outside Rand Mines in Gauteng before making the journey to the Cape.
Find it: Outside the Project Isizwe offices on 156 Dorp Street.
And old man sits, in seemingly peaceful contemplation, reading on a park bench. A dove, in golden bronze, perches on the bench gazing at the man in question, Oupa Carlos. This sculpture created by Kean Theron Louw is designed to spark reflection and contemplation, just like its subject.
Find it: Sitting under the oaktrees on the corner of Dorp and Die Laan, Stellenbosch
STAND Art Exhibition
Stand is a public art exhibition of functioning bicycle stands designed as an outdoor sculpture by some of South Africa’s finest creative minds. It highlights both the arts and non-motorised transport used extensively in the town. Fusing public spaces and urban design, the exhibition sparks thought about the challenges posed by ever-increasing traffic congestion.
This ethereal bronze sculpture by Lydia Da Silva captures the elegance of the Acapulco Cliff divers. Perched high above, they hurl their bodies in a gracious and seconds before hitting the water at breakneck speed they bring their arms together and clench their fists to brace for impact. The coastline is dotted with rocks, so this is a true feat of courage.
Find it: Corner or Church and Ryneveld Streets, Stellenbosch
Monkey Business Bronze
There’s no monkeying around with artist Wilma Cruise’s Monkey Business Bronze. Baboons and humans in the Cape often confront each other across an abyss of incomprehension in a clash of wits and will. This bronze perfectly captures the sometimes tragic and sometimes humorous meeting of these two species.
Find it: Infront of the Ou College Building at 35 Church Street
Landscape of Lines
Created by Strijdom van der Merwe, this artwork showcases the beauty of the ever-changing sky, the viewer and surrounding landscape reflected in the mirror beam. The viewer is cleverly placed within the installation.
Find it: Jan Marais Park Nature Reserve, Marais Street, Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch Library Cat
Have you popped into the Stellenbosch Library? Keep an eye out for this sneaky cat sculpture, sitting outside.
Find it: Outside the Stellenbosch library.