Can you believe it has taken this long for an art museum devoted solely to contemporary African art and its diaspora to open?
Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), located at the Waterfront in Cape Town, is the first public institution of its kind on the continent.
Built in 1921, the 187-foot silo was once the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Consisting of 42 vertical concrete tubes, the structure was used to store and grade maize from all over the country.
The silo has since become an icon of South Africa’s legislative capital. A $38-million-dollar-development to turn the building into a museum was announced in 2013. British architect Thomas Heatherwick was commissioned to produce “an architectural intervention inspired by its own historic character,” according to a press statement released by Zeitz MOCAA.
Zeitz MOCAA’s collection is built on the foundation of its namesake, Jochen Zeitz, the former CEO of Puma and avid collector of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. The Zeitz collection, however—unlike those of most Western institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum or the Ken Tate galleries, which are named after principal patrons—is not a permanent part of the museum.
Rather, the collection is on loan for the duration of Zeitz’s lifetime.
While that in itself raises some questions about the museum’s future, I am way too excited about what the museum means to kick up a fuss. If you’re interested, you can plug into that conversation here.
The building was opened to press last weekend, reports House & Leisure, and first timers were shown around by Heatherwick, the world-renowned British designer whose studio created the museum:
[He] told journalists from around the world at the building’s launch that ‘Today is the most important launch moment that my studio has ever had.’
Rather than focus on Heatherwick’s personal accomplishment, let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
The 9 300 m2 exhibition features about 300 works of art:
The 11 shows—“Wounded Negatives,” “LGBTQI+,” “Material Value,” and “States of Grace,” to name a few—present an intergenerational mix of a few white but mostly black voices from across the continent, such as Gabrielle Goliath, Nandipha Mntambo, Mouna Karray, and Samson Kambalu.
There are works by the biggest names in African art, including El Anatsui, who created a special wall work for the museum, and William Kentridge, whose processional history, More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015), is on view. The British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Addio del Passato (2011) occupies the museum’s four-story dusthouse and the British artist Isaac Julien’s incredible nine-double-sided screen projection, Ten Thousand Waves (2010), occupies another gallery.
Hands up if you’re as excited as I am.
If you’re in Cape Town this weekend, you’re in for a treat; Zeitz MOCAA is opening its doors to the public this weekend – all in the name of Heritage Day. So fitting.
With FREE PUBLIC ACCESS from September 22 to 25 (although you have a two hour slot and must then make way for the nest group), it expects around 24 000 people to pass through its doors.
Thereafter, everyone under 18 always gets in free, while adult residents of African countries have free access all year round on Wednesdays between 10AM and 1PM.
And on First Fridays, admission is half price between 4PM and 9PM. A regular single-day entry costs R180, and annual memberships are available from just R250.
You can visit zeitzmocaa.museum for all the details.
[imagesource: Matthias Balk / Getty Images] First come the predictions, which had mid-D...
[imagesource:here] According to reports, Princess Charlene is staying at a treatment fa...
[imagesource:here] Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos, has been hiding out in Abu Dhabi...
[imagesource: YouTube / IRamzayI] We've made it. One Thursday closer to the end of t...
[imagesource: Getty Images] If I was ever to leave the safe confines of my home office ...