Cape Town
, 20. September 2017
Cape Town's new Mecca for Art

Zeitz Museum of Modern Art opens in Africa

The first museum of contemporary African art opened its doors in South African Cape Town on yesterday´s Friday. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) was built directly on the Atlantic Ocean, in the middle of the famous shopping street Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.

x-working Art from Nandipha Mntambo, © George Prassas
Art from Nandipha Mntambo, © George Prassas

Just a few years ago, art from Africa barely led to headlines. The times when African art has been equated with woodcuts, masks and ethnic paintings are now outdated. African artists are market as an insider tips, collectors are competing and the prices noticeably rise.

Yet it has been so difficult for African artists. Anyone who wants to be successful must go to the documenta, the Venice Biennale or elsewhere in the north. There have been attempts in the past to change this, for example with the Biennale Dakar or the National Art Gallery in Rwanda. Nevertheless, it did not really want to work with the freedom of African contemporary art.

As a result, former Puma boss Jochen Zeitz pushed the development of a new museum for contemporary art in Africa ten years ago, for which he also donated his private collection. In the future, the museum should be on on level with London’s Tate Modern and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The top architect Thomas Heatherwick has transformed the historical grain silo into a state-of-the-art museum out of 42 huge concrete pipes.

This weekend, the South Africans celebrate the day of their cultural heritage. For this reason, the opening ceremony took place on yesterday´s Friday, 22nd September 2017. Around 24,000 visitors are expected for the opening weekend.

Only art that created after the year 2000 is exhibited in the Zeitz MOCAA. There should be no processing on the past. The new museum is to become an Art Cape of Good Hope. With approximately 20 million visitors in Cape Town, odds are in favor so that the museum will be a success story.

A series of exhibitions and events opens this weekend. The artist Yinka Shonibare will play on the third building, which is part of the Zeitz MOCAA campus, with an endurance performance. Nandipha Mntambo presents her artworks with the use of cow skin in a solo exhibition covering the cultural, historical and universal associations that are linked with this medium. Furthermore, a whole bunch of international artists will organize a group exhibition in "All Things Being Equal..."  Have fun!

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