Robyn Curnow's Love Affair with South African Art

We caught up with the CNN anchor and news correspondent to learn about her collection of local art.


Robyn Curnow | House and Leisure

People who watch CNN will recognise Robyn Curnow right away. She is a South African journalist who is both a news correspondent and anchor on the giant news network. She hosts CNN International's Desk with Robyn Curnow, during which she provides the latest updates on news from around the globe for CNN's international viewers.

In her private life, Curnow is a keen collector who has a passion for art, particularly South African art. We caught up with her while she was in the country recently to find out more about her collection. 

5 Minutes with Robyn Curnow

Was there a particular moment or work of art that sparked your interest in art?

My dad bought me my first piece of art when I was at university in KwaZulu-Natal. Art always connected us. We could both draw and paint, but we’d take trips to look at art together and it brought us closer. I still have some of the pieces he bought. They’re precious.

Robyn Curnow | House and Leisure
Nkuli Mlangeni; a Ninevites rug. 
ALSO READ: Weaving a Win for Nkuli Mlangeni

Which artist has you excited right now and why?

I live in the US so I’m always excited by the art and design from home. I love the handwoven textiles that Nkuli Mlangeni is doing for The Ninevites. My brother Andrew, who started the Mushroom Half Hour, introduced me to her. She made him a fabulous rug with his record label's logo on it.

What is the most memorable artwork you’ve seen?

I saw 'The Spear' by Brett Murray before and after it was defaced.

Do you have a favourite piece of art in your personal collection?

I have bought bits and pieces from artists and photographers I’ve interviewed or reported on. I have a beautiful William Kentridge in pencil. I got a David Goldblatt on auction at Strauss & Co after I interviewed him. Lawrence Lemaoana’s giant pink embroided dancing Zuma gives me great joy. I bought a restrained Walter Meyer just before he died; it’s not like his usual pieces, but I love it. There’s a delicate Aborginal dream-time painting that I bought in Australia that’s very modern. I’ve collected Zapiro’s cartoons for years because they make me laugh, and cry. My late aunt Cathy bought me a Billie Zangewa piece to celebrate the birth of my first daughter that’s wonderfully intricate. They’re all keepers. They’re like my children – I can’t choose a favourite. 

Robyn Curnow | House and Leisure
Photographer David Goldblatt; the Goldblatt photograph from Curnow's own collection. 


ALSO READ: Through His Lens: A Photomontage in Memory of David Goldblatt

If money were no object, which artwork would you add to your collection?

A Henry Moore. I’d love a giant Henry Moore in my garden (like they have at the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark). If that’s a bit ambitious, maybe a huge Dylan Lewis sculpture instead?

Robyn Curnow | House and Leisure
'Male Trans-Figure III' by Dylan Lewis.