Southern Guild partners meaningfully with artists through artwork production and exhibition-making to foster their careers and propel their capacity for creative evolution.
Established in 2008 by Trevyn and Julian McGowan, Southern Guild represents contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora. With a focus on Africa’s rich tradition of utilitarian and ritualistic art, the gallery’s programme furthers the continent’s contribution to global art movements. Southern Guild’s artists explore the preservation of culture, spirituality, identity, ancestral knowledge, and ecology within our current landscape.
In the true spirit of a guild, the gallery was founded on the principles of community and collaboration, and grew out of a desire to provoke new work, facilitate alliances between differing disciplines, and articulate what it means to be human. Having pioneered the collectible design category on the continent, the gallery showcases excellence across both functional and contemporary art. Southern Guild partners meaningfully with artists through artwork production and exhibition-making to foster their careers and propel their capacity for creative evolution. The gallery nurtures new talent through educational projects, talks, mentorship initiatives, and its own GUILD Residency, an international studio programme for artists seeking to engage with the local context.
Southern Guild is invested in the growth of the African creative ecosystem, cultivating an ethos of cultural exchange and interconnectedness through its robust international fair and biennale programme, and by partnering with curators, institutions, and museums to realise distinctive interdisciplinary projects. Since 2018, the gallery has collaborated with BMW South Africa on a year-round programme of meaningful activations that promote artist development and propel their careers. Works by its artists have been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, LACMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pérez Art Museum, Mint Museum, Harn Museum, Denver Art Museum, Vitra Museum, Design Museum Gent and National Gallery of Victoria. Gallery artists have also exhibited at institutions including Centre Pompidou, Brooklyn Museum, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Saint-Étienne Métropole (MAMC+), Seoul Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and African American Museum of Dallas.
Located in Cape Town, the gallery will expand internationally with a 5,000 sqft space opening in Melrose Hill, Los Angeles in February 2024.