By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
Africa’s first major contemporary arts museum is set to open in Cape Town in 2016.
The new cultural institution, which will focus on collecting, preserving, researching and exhibiting cutting edge contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora, is a joint venture between V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz—for whom the museum will be named.
The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), named in honor of the renowned Zeitz Collection, comprise of over 102,000 square feet (9,500 square meters) and will house Zeitz’s collection of contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora.
Speaking about the opening of the museum, Zeitz said “Over the last two decades, Africa has played an important role in both my professional and private life. My collection has been strategically built over many years specifically with the goal to create an internationally relevant public contemporary art museum in Africa. After considering many cities across Africa, I am excited to partner with the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. It is an iconic location in an iconic city, and will be situated in a historic landmark building. This will make my collection accessible to a local, national, continental and international audience.”
Zeitz, who has committed his collection in perpetuity, is underwriting the running costs of the museum and is providing a substantial acquisition budget to allow the museum to acquire new important artworks over time to remain on the edge of contemporary cultural production.
This unique public and private partnership in South Africa that will additionally breathe life into the Silo district and act as a drawcard to a venture that is non-commercial in nature and is designed specifically for the enjoyment of all the continent’s citizens.
The museum also named Mark Coetzee as executive director and chief curator of Zeitz MOCAA. Coetzee is known for his works directing cultural institutions like Miami Model with the Rubell Collection and a new groundbreaking corporate responsibility model through PUMAVision.
Coetzee, who relocated to South Africa after a 25-year international career to lead Zeitz MOCAA, said the new contemporary arts museum will constitute a re-imagining of a museum within an African context: celebrate Africa preserving its own cultural legacy, writing its own history and defining itself on its own terms.
“The vision of the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz will have major impact for the visual art world and for Cape Town,” he added.
The museum’s design shows the height of the Grain Silo and its strong silhouette gives it a character that has set it apart as an unusual structure. The reuse of the structure to house Zeitz MOCAA combines ingenuity, resourcefulness and beauty in a way that will be unique for Africa and give greater respect to the work displayed.
The museum arts are expected to spread over nine floors, of which 6,000 square meters (65,000 square feet) will be dedicated to exhibition space. The museum has also dedicated an entire floor to education.
Zeitz MOCAA brings another dimension—a cultural facility of global significance that provides both an intellectual and cultural focus point.
Zeitz MOCAA is set to welcome its first visitors at the end of 2016.
Until the extensive renovations to the Silo complex are complete, selections from the Zeitz Collection will be presented at Zeitz MOCAA Pavilion, a museum-quality temporary exhibition space also at the V&A Waterfront.
The inaugural exhibition which opens at Zeitz MOCAA Pavilion on Nov. 23 will present the work of Swazi artist Nandipha Mntambo.
Zeitz MOCAA forms part of a master plan for the Silo district that includes mixed-use developments of residential, commercial, leisure and hotel property with the transformed Grain Silo as the central focus of a public plaza.
The architect for the new museum will be announced in February 2015.