Absa Art Gallery
Article by ABSA

Absa Towers North in downtown Johannesburg houses many unique works of art in the offices and reception areas, as well as in the smaller art gallery which houses spectacular original art.

When the building was commissioned in 1999, the major artworks were commissioned at the same time, allowing the architects and artists to work together to ensure that the building accommodated the artworks perfectly.

A huge colourful mural, by artist Karel Nel, entitled Place of Nurture hangs in the reception area. In the atrium, five six-storey tall colourful tuft carpet banners by Norman Catherine, woven by rural men hang. An 11-metre high Walter Oltmann wire sculpture is displayed in a corner of the huge foyer, depicting replicas of carved African stools. It weighs half a ton and had special steel supports inserted into its middle to prevent it from sagging.

At the back of the artrium hangs the huge metal Mobile City, created by Lewis Levin, Paul Cawood and Susan Woolf. It’s a mobile of the old city of Johannesburg and the newer, modern city, perfectly balanced and taking up two floors of space. It moves slowly, making a cycle every 20 minutes.

There’s the large tapestry panel by Andrew Verster, woven by rural women; a six-metre panel by Karel Nel; a five-panel work by Annette Pretorius, and other large works on every floor. Visit the Absa Art Gallery for a full tour of the exhibition.