Continuing the great traditions of conservation that Sanbona uphold, the Fitzgerald Collection at Sanbona could not have found a more wonderful home where it can be viewed in spectacular surrounds. The collection is the only one of its kind in South Africa that can be viewed by the public. By putting the collection on show in Sanbona, the wonderous world of African Tribal Art is made accessible to all who wish to engage with it and further enhance the splendid African experience of the spectacular Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.
In recent decades significant new insights have been gained in Western culture concerning the nature of creativity, what art is, where beauty lies, and what there is to be learned from, as well as about cultures other than our own. In exhibition after exhibition the line between fine art and craftsmanship has been obliterated. The elements of great art are recognized where they occur, whether in the masterwork of a historically significant painter or sculptor, in the clear lines of a utilitarian object, in the pure form and design of a product of modern technology, or (increasingly, since our eyes have learned to penetrate unfamiliar subject matter and to perceive its essence) in the creative output of other cultures. Thus we discover the characteristics of great art, in the masks, statues, utilitarian objects and textiles of sub Saharan Africa. Such objects (as we have here in the Sanbona collection) were made not as art in the Western sense (though valid systems of aesthetics lie behind them) but rather as implements of the socio-religious life of a people in which art enhances status, reinforces authority, expresses spiritual values, and in the most intimate way, confirms life itself. The expressive quality and evocative power of these pieces transcend their origins and have a fundamental impact and influence on the universal culture of our time.