A true feast for the senses in a unique space that celebrates history through contemporary vision.
It took 5 million hours to construct and cost R500 million to design. It houses 100 galleries spread over nine floors and 6000 meters of exhibition space. Home to rooftop gardens and Cape Town’s trendiest hotel – on top, of course. Welcome to the spectacular work of modern architecture: Zeitz MOCAA – Africa’s biggest museum of contemporary art and a true feast for the senses. So what’s the story?
The vision is to provide a “platform for Africans to tell their own story and participate in the telling of that story” with a dialogue that expands over all 54 African states, with focus on 21st-century art centred around the private collection of the museum’s German patron, Jochen Zeitz (expect to see work by acclaimed and award-winning artists like Mary Sibande, Frances Goodman, Kendell Geers, William Kentridge, and Nicholas Hlobo). Besides the permanent collection, there are centres for photography, performing arts and the moving image, a dedicated arts education centre (a full schools programme is promised in 2018), a costume institute and a curatorial training programme.
And what’s with the odd-looking building? Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the museum is housed in the old grain silo at the trendy V&A Waterfront, so the architecture is very much paying homage to this important historical landmark. The silos were built in 1921, and for the better part of a century, they were the industrial heart of the harbour area. At 57m, they were also the tallest buildings in Africa for a long time.
According to Mark Coetzee, the museum’s executive director and chief curator, the role of art is “to open us up to conversations, to make us aware of things which are different to us, to change our perceptions, to challenge our prejudice, but also to give us some sanity and tools in how to negotiate the problematics -both aesthetic and beautiful, but also political and tough in this time and place. The importance of building this museum, on the African continent, is groundbreaking.”
We couldn’t agree more… It’s an absolute MUST-SEE!