(Photo: Ethan Van Diemen)
Just 10 days ahead of the one-year anniversary of its opening, the Zeitz MOCAA museum in Cape Town has added a new temporary exhibition called 'Five Bhobh: Painting at the End of an Era'.
According to Associated Press (AP), while the museum has work to do, it has been "outpacing expectations" and drew 350 000 visitors in its first year. About 100 000 visited for free in a program to involve local communities, a sensitive issue on a continent where deep poverty can make art seem like a hobby of the elite.
The museum billed itself as a major showcase for art from Africa and its diaspora, an alternative to the big Western art fairs and galleries that offered the best chances of international success.
Housed in the historic Grain Silo that has stood on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront since 1921, Zeitz MOCAA is a path-breaking, not-for-profit institution, which looks to nurture art from across Africa and the African Diaspora as well as developing a programme that will help celebrate and historicise African art while supporting new artists.
The building, comprising 9 500 square metres displays works in 80 galleries over nine floors and was designed by Thomas Heatherwick.
While the size of the museum space itself enables African and Diaspora artists to be exhibited on a grand scale, in its commitment to art education and open access, the museum also communicates a distinctive sense of art that is available to all – and that will look to inspire generations of artists to come.
WATCH: Zeitz MOCAA Museum is a 'cathedral' for African art
Brook Minto, who joined the Zeitz museum as director of institutional advancement in May, and Azu Nwagbogu, a Nigerian who became acting chief curator after Coetzee's exit, spoke to a crowd at the "Keyes Art Mile," a group of galleries and shops in Johannesburg.
AP quotes Nwagbogu as saying the goal of the museum is to "move beyond entertainment" and to "tell the African story."
The Zeitz museum has recently launched an exhibition of art by Zimbabweans, whose country recently held the first elections without its former longtime leader, Robert Mugabe, on the ballot.
The 30 artists "don't all have the same opinion on what's happened," Minto says. The museum, she said, will "give them a space to speak their mind."
Five bhobh (pronounced 'five bob') is the average fare need to journey locally by kombi (minibus) in Zimbabwe. monotonously, shoulders in the front row are tapped as money is moved forward and change is negotiated until it reaches the hwindi (bus conductor). By then the engine is roaring and the driver is negotiating his exit from the bustling terminus. Passengers may begin to converse. They have paid their dues, invested in the future, and are waiting expectantly to move forward.
SEE: Zeitz Mocaa's Ballen photography centre to demystify the new nature of photography
The exhibition, in various ways, marks the end of an era, offering insights into an alternative dispensation. Here the kombi is like the nation of Zimbabwe; the artist its passengers, who engage in social commentary through calculated gesture.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to go:
Daily admission: R190 per adult.
Annual Membership: R270. Over 60's Annual Membership: R195. Find out more about membership here.
Under 18: Free entry, all year, at all times, for under 18's. Free entry on presentation of an ID.
Free entry for African citizens: Wednesdays 10:00 - 13:00. Free entry on presentation of an ID.
Free entry on Museum Night: For first 2000 guests only, thereafter half-price admission. Next Museum Night takes place on Wednesday, 28 June and Thursday, 27 September 2018. 17:00 - 22:00. Last entry 21:30.
Free entry on Heritage Day, 24 September: 10:00 - 18:00. Last entry: 17:30.
Half price (R 95) every First Friday of the month: 17:00 - 21:00.
Wednesday to Monday: 10:00 - 18:00
Last entry: 17:30
First Friday of the month: 10:00 - 21:00. Last entry: 20:30
The Five Bhobh exhibition can be found on Level Three and will be available for your viewing pleasure until 31 March 2019.
Here are some of the expertly curated artworks and spaces you can expect to see:
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