Art in Public Places

The V&A Waterfront celebrates local creativity while giving visitors the chance to be stimulated by art that is accessible to everyone, 24 hours a day. Our Art in Public Places initiative has us constantly adding art installations, sculptures, murals and other creative interventions that bring joy to all who visit our vibrant Cape Town neighbourhood, where open-air public art is free (and fun) to enjoy. Below are just four of the many art sculptures you’ll discover when wandering around the V&A Waterfront’s Silo District. And there’s so much more art to explore when you cross the swing bridge at the Clock Tower. South African art culture surrounds you everywhere you go at the Waterfront.


 Playful outlook

Young Sailors by Sanell Aggenbach

Location: Silo District, alongside Zeitz MOCAA

 Kids love hopping into these whimsical sculptures made of concrete and fibreglass. It’s a playful way for them to pretend to be sailors, exploring the seas like so many past adventurers who landed on our Cape Town shores, right here at the harbour. Quirkily designed as origami paper boats, ‘Young Sailors’ is an interactive installation that gives parents a chance to take a breather at one of the eateries alongside the sculptures while their kids playfully imagine their lives on board. Cape Town artist Sanell Aggenbach worked with Manuel Mendes, one of the Waterfront’s long-time boat-builders to create this piece.


 Sense of place

Angular Mass by Michele Mathison

Location: Silo District, outside Southern Guild

When the Waterfront’s old silos were being redeveloped into  Zeitz MOCAA and the Silo Hotel, Johannesburg artist Michele Mathison was tasked with transforming the five large flywheels, which were part of the original grain-silo machinery built in 1921, into a sculpture for public display in the same area. The result is a kinetic yet static work of art that captures the rotational drive stored in the weight and size of the wheels, using balanced stop motion to reveal their working potential. It’s an artwork that maintains the history of the Silo District in a striking contemporary fashion.

 Peaceful protest

Non-Violence by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd

Location: Silo District, outside Radisson Red

 This bronze gun has been ‘knotted’ to disable its muzzle and prevent it from being used as a weapon. It makes a bold statement against violence, using the shape of the Colt Python Magnum. As a friend of late singer John Lennon’s family, Swedish artist Reuterswärd created this artwork after the former Beatle was murdered. It is a tribute to Lennon’s vision for a peaceful world, immortalised in his popular song Imagine. The same sculpture stands outside the United Nations headquarters in New York and in other cities like Beirut and Lausanne. The ‘knotted gun’ has now become a symbol used by many other artists to convey ideas of peace and non-violence.

New perspectives

Still Life with Ice Cream Cone and Blue Cheese by Gavin Younge

Location: Silo District, West Garden

This was the first public artwork to be installed at the V&A Waterfront in 1992 (originally in Alfred Square). Gavin Younge, who was then Director of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, employed two of his former students, Graeme Germond and Joshua Miles, to assist him in producing this monumental artwork made from materials usually found in working harbours like ours: bronze and wood. The sculpture literally turns the idea of a ‘still life’ on its head. Still lifes are generally found in paintings, not in sculptures, so Younge’s unusual representation of an upside-down ice-cream cone on a wedge of cheese causes one to view things differently. The shapes are inspired by artist Paul Cezanne’s idea that we should deal with nature by means of ‘the cylinder, the sphere and the cone’. Here, these forms are combined to create an unusual reality through art.