Face sculptures at Anton Smit Sculpture Park

#Gauteng52, Week 27: Anton Smit Sculpture Park

Welcome to Week 27 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Anton Smit Sculpture Park in Bronkhorstspruit.

I drove slowly up the R25, careful not to miss the turn that would take us to the Anton Smit Sculpture Park. I crested a rise and realized I needn’t have worried. The turn is hard to miss.

Turn to Anton Smit Sculpture ParkThe road toward the Anton Smit Sculpture Park in Bronkhorstspruit.

Anton Smit is a well known South African sculptor. I’ve seen his work all over the country, most recently at the Delaire Graff Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. But Smit’s largest collection is at his home in Bronkhorstspruit, about 90 minutes northeast of Joburg, where he has a sculpture park and a quirky restaurant/café.

Face sculptures at Anton Smit Sculpture ParkGiant faces, turned toward the setting sun, welcome us to the sculpture park.

I’m struggling to find words to describe the Anton Smit Sculpture Park. Whimsical comes to mind, but I think surreal is better. There’s something about this mystical yet well-branded grassy hilltop, located inside a luxury housing development that doesn’t belong in the middle of South African nowhere, dotted with mammoth looming faces and muscular legs without torsos and heads missing bodies and clucking chickens and stalking cats, that feels disconnected with reality in a charming yet unsettling way.

Inside the Anton Smit Sculpture Park

There’s a lot to see at this crazy park/museum/gallery/restaurant.

Wooden head at Anton Smit Sculpture ParkAnother wooden head.

Stone sculpture of a sleeping womanA carved woman sleeps beside a security fence.

Sculpture made of stonePieces of a stone head.

Legs outside chapel
Legs sprout flowers outside a chapel-like tribute that Anton Smit built for his wife, Roelah.

Inside the Anton Smit chapelInside the chapel.

The onsite Imagine Café is appropriately named: This whole place gets the imagination going. Marie-Lais and I sat down for a drink in the café with Anton, but I couldn’t sit still. I kept glimpsing things I had to get up and take pictures of. Anton is jolly and reminds me of an artsy Santa Claus.

Table at the Imagine CafeA table in the Imagine Café with a hint of Anton in the background. We didn’t have time to eat but I’d love to go back for Sunday lunch.

Anton Smit studioA painting of Anton in his indoor studio.

Anton and his Faith sculptureAnton directs his staff as they construct a larger-than-life version of his famous “Faith” sculpture for a commission in Tel Aviv.

Anton Smit Transections IIMy favorite sculpture at the park — it’s called Transections II.

The sculpture park is especially pretty around sunset. I recommend visiting on a weekend afternoon, have a leisurely lunch in the garden, then stroll the park as the sun goes down. Just remember you’ve got a relatively long drive home (depending on where you stay in the Joburg-Pretoria area).

The Anton Smit Sculpture Park is on Black Eagle Lane in the Aqua Vista Mountain Estate, Bronkhorstspruit. There is no admission fee. Call +27-82-653-7659.

Read all of my #Gauteng52 posts, and check out this interactive #Gauteng52 map.

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5 Comments

  • Reply eremophila July 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    The leg planters my favor!

    • Reply 2summers July 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      I also love that one 🙂

  • Reply autumnashbough July 5, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    I really like the chapel.

    • Reply 2summers July 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Me too!

  • Reply Gail Scott Wilson July 5, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    A very good friend of mine got married there, just the perfect venue for an arty wedding. Love the place.

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