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About The Collection

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum has a dynamic regional collection that reflects the history and character of art, craft and design produced in the Eastern Cape and its relationship to national and international trends. 

The three exhibition halls are re-hung throughout the year to accommodate our Collections as well as our programme of special exhibitions.


AFRICANA 1800-1900

This is a collection of oils, works on paper and prints dating from 1790-1890.   Much of this collection was built up by the Municipality before the Art Museum opened in 1956.   Thematically, most of the works relate to Port Elizabeth and are an important historical resource.  Stylistically they illustrate important links between British and South African art of the 19th century.   Highlights of this collection are works by Frederick Timpson I'Ons, one of South Africa's earliest full-time professional artists, a collection of works relating to Port Elizabeth by Thomas Baines, prints by Thomas Bowler, and depictions of the city by early residents and visitors to the city.



This collection includes representative artworks by artists working in the Eastern Cape during this period.   Apart from the Ann Bryant Gallery, East London, and the University of Fort Hare, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum is the custodian of the largest collection of art works in this field.    Highlights of this collection are works by leading artists such as Frank Pickford Marriott, Dorothy Kay, Betsy Fordyce, Fred Page, Gladys Mgudlandlu, Joan Wright, Phil Kolbe, Alexander Podlashuc, George Pemba, Hilary Graham, Robert Brooks, Tom Matthews, Derrick Erasmus, and Trevor Melville.



There is an extensive collection of the art and craft of the Southern Nguni peoples of the Eastern Cape, including mainly beadwork as well as textiles, pottery and leatherwork.



The Art Museum is responsible for acquiring a representative selection of outstanding South African contemporary works in all media.    It actively supports Eastern Cape artists who work in digital and other new media through its exhibition programme and its bi-annual competition and award.



The general South African collection includes representative collections of important trends, media, and leading artists with a national profile.   This collection complements and supports the Eastern Cape collections and is an important educational resource.   



There is an extensive collection of South African studio ceramics including the works of Hylton Nel, the Linnware and Kalahari studios, Charmaine Haines, Meshak Masuku, Maggie Mikula and Lynnley Watson.


This collection includes prints in a variety of media from France, Britain, Holland, Germany, Spain, etc.   They range from Dutch 17th century etchings to 20th century American serigraphs and provide examples of international genres, styles and techniques.



This collection ranges from the 17th to the 20th century and is representative of general trends in British art.   Highlights include works by Norman Blamey, Robert Bevan, Ginner, LS Lowry, Robert Burra, and Christopher Wood.



Collections of Chinese ceramics, Indian miniatures and Japanese prints were established by Eleanor Lorimer, the first Director, in acknowledgment of the Chinese and Indian communities in Port Elizabeth.   



A collection of Chinese Qing dynasty textiles was established in 1990 and now includes a broad range of costume, wall hangings and embroideries.   

Contact Details

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum

Address: 1 Park Drive, Central,  Port Elizabeth, 6001, South Africa

Telephone: +27 (0)41 506 2000 

Cell: 079 490 0690 

E-mail: or

Please note that our fax line is not working.

Please address all correspondence to the Director.

The Art Museum is open from 9:00 – 16:00 weekdays to the public.

The Art Museum is closed weekends and public holidays. We are open on certain Saturdays, please contact us to check which Saturday we will be open.

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