ZEITZ MOCAA CAPE TOWN
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART AFRICA
At long last, the best of African art will be found in Africa. Already set to join the world’s leading contemporary art museums, Zeitz MOCAA on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town will house one of the largest and most significant collections of contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora. Traditionally, African art has been stealthily exported from the continent and dispersed among museums and collectors all over the globe.
But now, a major new cultural institution is being created in the historic Grain Silo at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. This cutting-edge project captivated the imagination of internationally acclaimed architect, Thomas Heatherwick, who is responsible for this unique architectural redevelopment. The building, which is iconic of the Cape Town skyline, commands over 9,500 square meters and rises to a height of over nine floors, will not only preserve the industrial heritage of Cape Town’s iconic Grain Silo, but will also make it a functional space destined to become a major non-profit cultural institution. By turning the unused silo into a museum, the project aims not only to showcase the art of Africa, but also to further the development of art on the continent through the acquisition of new artworks and through a strong educational focus.
Constructed in 1921, the 57-meter tall, the Grain Silo is a defining feature, emblematic of the Cape Town skyline. The museum aims to promote the development of art in Africa and give recognition to the important cultural and financial contribution the visual arts sector makes to society as a whole.
As the most visited site in Africa, with over 24 million visitors annually, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is the perfect venue to share the cultural artifacts and ideas of Africa with the world.
The Executive Director and Chief Curator of Zeitz MOCAA is Mark Coetzee, who, for a number of years, has been the Cultural Specialist of the Zeitz Foundation and Curator for the Zeitz Collection. Coetzee has relocated to South Africa after an international career spanning 25 years. In his words: “Zeitz MOCAA 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 Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz will have a major impact for the visual art world in general and for Cape Town in particular.”
The concept, which is the brainchild of Jochen Zeitz, will focus on collecting, preserving, researching and exhibiting the very best of contemporary African art, and will include his private collection which he has generously committed to donate to the museum in perpetuity. His commitment also extends to include underwriting the running costs of the museum and providing a substantial budget which will allow for the acquisition of new important artworks over time to ensure the collection reflects the status of a prestigious international museum. Zeitz MOCAA is named in honour of the renowned Zeitz Collection, the museum’s founding collection which gives it standing among leading contemporary art museums worldwide.
German born businessman Jochen Zeitz explains: “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 Victoria & Alfred 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 MOCAA is set to open its doors and welcome its first visitors in the beginning of 2017. Until the extensive renovations of the Silo complex are complete, selections from the Zeitz Collection will be on display at Zeitz MOCAA Pavilion, a temporary exhibition space with museum standards at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and in Laikipia, Kenya at Segera Retreat.