Artvark Gallery is situated in the heart of Kalk Bay.
Kalk Bay is by far the popular of all destinations along the Cape Town's False Bay seaboard. The Kalk Bay’s Main Road is jam-packed with bustling antique stores, quirky coffee shops, one-of-a-kind galleries and rare- bookstores.
The small fishing village of Kalk Bay, nestled between the mountains and the sea, is only a 30-minute drive from Cape Town central yet a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The village of Kalk Bay was established in the 17th century as a small community of lime-burners who used kilns to extract lime from the seashell deposits for use in the construction of buildings. Its name was derived from the Dutch term for lime. In 1795 the Dutch located a small military outpost here, and after 1806 it began to flourish as a fishing village and whaling station. In the 1840′s a Philippine ship was wrecked off Cape Point and many of the sailors settled in Kalk Bay adding substantially to the small fishing community that had developed.
Over the years some Philippine sailors deserted from ships visiting the Cape joined them as well as emancipated slaves from the East Indies. The railway line arrived in Kalk Bay in May 1883, the village was already a favourite spot for wealthy Cape Town businessmen from Wynberg and Rondebosch but the railway brought teeming crowds and the development of the fishing industry. Cecil John Rhodes was, of course, the most famous person who had a holiday cottage here and it can be visited today as a museum. In 1890 the railway line was extended to Simons Town.
This controversial decision had a major impact on the Kalk Bay community particularly the fishing community as the railway line cut through the middle of Fishery Beach. Steel gantries were constructed as a temporary measure and a new breakwater and slipway was built between 1913 and 1919. Once the harbour was built the entire character changed. Steam-trawlers and other vessels safely docked in the harbour.
Fish was railed from Kalk Bay up to the rich markets of the Transvaal and Kimberley. Kalk Bay has one of the last remaining working harbours in South Africa with a fishing community proud of their heritage. It is a community that has remained intact throughout South Africa’s turbulent history, the only place in the country where all residents successfully opposed the Group Areas Act of the 1960s. Many famous caves (with names such as 'Ronan's Well', after the Walter Scott novel St. Ronan's Well, and 'Free Drinks Saloon') are located in the mountains above the village. They are of importance to speleologists because they have formed in sandstone. Large cave systems are not often found in this type of chemically unreactive rock.
Today the village, no longer dependent on either lime or fishing, is the home of beautiful spaces filled with beautiful things such as the famous surf spot “Kalk Bay Reef”, many small antique shops, restaurants and bars, boutiques and off course the first art gallery (1998) to the area, the eccentric Artvark Gallery.