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“To me it's a great miracle that the people of a small Karoo dorp wanted art so badly that they made it possible for the top artists of South Africa to co-operate with me to bring this about.  Now people from all over the world can come to Somerset East and see the miracle.”

Walter Battiss​

On 24th October 1981, in a ceremony attended by family, friends, and colleagues of Professor Walter Battiss, the grand old man of South African art stood in front of the old Officer’s Mess in his birthplace, Somerset East, and bequeathed a collection of his work to “the people of Somerset East - all the people of Somerset East, and the people of South Africa - all the people of South Africa”.  Friends and colleagues donated their own works to be part of the Museum collection. 
Battiss’ ex pupil and great friend, Professor Murray Schoonraad assisted by curating the collection.
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