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22. September 2017

Zeits Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) Opens in Cape Town

After four years, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) has been completed at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and officially opened to public on 22 September.

The R500-million project involved the redevelopment of an almost 100-year-old historic grain silo, which was originally part of an industrial shipping facility in the Cape Town Harbour. It later became a disused industrial building.

Now, it will house the world's largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora. The museum will collect, preserve, research and exhibit cutting-edge contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora. Zeitz MOCAA has sought to create a contemporary art museum that is easily accessible to South Africans and continental visitors.

The project was conceptualised by the V&A Waterfront, in consultation with London-based Heatherwick Studio and in conjunction with South African architects. It is a joint not-for-profit partnership between the V&A Waterfront and German business entrepreneur, Jochen Zeitz.

Zeitz MOCAA is intended to be an important cultural landmark that contributes to a stronger, wider appreciation of Africa's cultural heritage.

According to V&A Waterfront CEO, David Green, the vision was to create an accessible, contemporary art museum.

"We recognised the importance art plays in society and the need to showcase the talents of Africa in Africa. It is for these reasons we are so proud to be able to unveil a home that will be not only a powerful platform for the artists but allow locals and international visitors access to great works of art, that will become the legacy of society as a whole," said Green.

Heatherwick Studio founder Thomas Heatherwick explained that the idea of turning a giant disused concrete grain silo made from 116 vertical tubes into a new kind of public space was weird and compelling from the beginning.

"We were excited by the opportunity to unlock this formerly dead structure and transform it into somewhere for people to see and enjoy the most incredible artworks from the continent of Africa," said Heatherwick.

"We are all looking forward to witnessing the impact of the museum's ambitious artistic programme and the museum taking its pivotal place in the middle of Africa's cultural infrastructure."

The galleries and the cathedral-like atrium space at the centre of the museum have been literally carved from the silos' dense cellular structure of 42 tubes that pack the building. The development includes 6 000 m² of exhibition space in 100 galleries, a rooftop sculpture garden, state-of-the-art storage and conservation areas, a bookshop, a restaurant and bar and various reading rooms.

Text Source: news24.com
Pictures by Ulrich Reimann

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