Barnard was founded in 2010 by owner and director Christiaan Barnard and represents emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from Africa and Europe. The gallery has presented a number of significant solo exhibitions by its artists whose works have also been included in group shows at notable museums and institutions including amongst others IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCCA), Cape Town; Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; Pratt Institute, New York; Foto Museum, Antwerp; BOZAR, Brussels and The Center for Book Arts, New York.
The gallery regularly participates in local and international art fairs. To date these have included: Cape Town Art Fair (2013-2023); AKAA: Also Known as Africa, Paris (2017-2018 / 2021); FNB Art Joburg (2021); 1-54: Contemporary African Art Fair, New York (2019); START, London (2018); VOLTA, Basel (2018); FNB Joburg Art Fair (2012-2018); VOLTA, New York (2017) and 1-54: Contemporary African Art Fair, London (2016-2017).

Barnard also has an active publishing programme - an initiative aiming to further explore and support the work and careers of the gallery’s roster of artists through the medium of the book. To date these publications have been added to the library collections of the University of Cape Town (UCT); Wits Art Museum (WAM), Johannesburg; Jack Ginsberg Collection / Ampersand Foundation, Johannesburg; Pratt Institute, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York.