As part of the centenary celebrations of the University of Pretoria, an exhibition entitled Visuality/Commentary2 was held in May 2008 to commemorate a history of more than fifty years of teaching and learning in the discipline of the visual arts. For the artists who participated in the centenary exhibition, the initial custom-made stage on which they learned to play was the Department of Visual Arts at this institution. Here they learned the skills and pleasures of looking, examining, conceptualising and representing, since this is what artists do: they survey the world, scrutinise and evaluate it; and they comment on it through visual depictions. In this article, the impact of world construction on the conceptual orientation of alumni of the Department of Visual Arts is traced. In particular, the relationship of artist to world is explored in the notion of a tertiary institution as an initial ‘world’ of learning; thereafter, the place of artists in a globalising world and the idea of the world as the metaphoric stage and playground of the artist are explored. All the artworks referred to here were part of the Visuality/Commentary exhibition.