In 2008 palaeontologist Lee Berger and his son discovered the skeletons whilst on a field trip. It seems that their bodies were trapped in a cave and their bones preserved over millennia. This data adds further weight to The Cradle's famous role in evolution.

Only a few kilometres away, on a 15 hectare reserve that was once a commercial trout farm, and is now a game farm, is the Nirox Sculpture Park. Not all that well known, it seems the reserve is something of a Jo'burg 'secret'.

In essence it is exactly what it says it is – sculptures in a park. An effortless blend of formal garden, complete with lawns and lakes, within a wider veld landscape. In amongst the gardens are the sculptures of artists, most of them one-time residents on the farm.

The Nirox Foundation offers an international artists residency programme.

It's offering is twofold – artists gain insight, and access, to the environmental and cultural heritage, including interaction with palaeontologists, geoscientists and speleologists in the area, as well as exposure to local artists, scientists, institutions and communities.

The artists, in turn, focus on the region; their only obligation to leave an artwork for the foundation's collection. Nirox collaborates with local museums, galleries and academic institutions and has built good relationships with curators. Hundreds of artists from around the world have made use of the residency programme.

The art that is not randomly exhibited within the reserve's gardens is on view, by appointment, at UNBOXED in the Maboneng precinct, Johannesburg.

Some of the artworks in the reserve are permanent, including works by Richard Long, Willem Boshoff, Caroline Bittermann, Valerio Berruti, Rebecca Chesney, Pryanka Coudhari, Rosenclare and Thomas Mulcaire.

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  • June 16, 2024 4:24 am local time

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