Perhaps you have heard of this “Zeitz MOCAA” project in passing conversation. Or maybe you haven’t but you’ve seen a crane (or three) in the sky, when driving past the V&A. Perhaps you’ve simply caught wind of the fact that a big art gallery is opening at the V&A in the future but that’s the extent of your knowledge… If you’re not fully in the know, we’d like to start helping you get there because Zeitz MOCAA is the most exciting project we’ve worked on since the V&A Waterfront first came to be. And considering how much has gone on here, that is saying a great deal.
Considered the most significant museum to be built on the African continent in more than 100 years, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa will open to the world on 23 September 2017.
Zeitz MOCAA will constitute a re-imagining of a museum within an African context; celebrating Africa preserving its own cultural legacy, writing its own history and defining itself on its own terms.
This is Africa taking ownership of its own narrative.
Beyond the art, the building is architecturally ambitious. The reuse of the historic structure combines ingenuity, resourcefulness and beauty in a way that will be unique for Africa and give greater respect to the work displayed. Taking on this challenging project of turning the historical landmark into a world class, cutting edge space for contemporary art is Thomas Heatherwick.
So, how did the museum come about?
The establishment of the museum came about as a confluence of factors.
The V&A Waterfront recognised the significance of its Grain Silo complex as an historic landmark and for years debated possible uses. An art museum was eventually decided upon but a collection was needed.
The desire was to house something of public civic significance, and something open to the public.
It was through Ravi Naidoo that Thomas Heatherwick was introduced to the Grain Silo complex in 2006, and again in 2011.
At the same time, Jochen Zeitz was working with curator Mark Coetzee to build a world class collection of contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora with the vision to create the first major museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora on the Africa Continent. The meeting of these two visions resulted in the creation of the not-for-profit institution since named Zeitz MOCAA.
Now while you wait for some more updates, enjoy these magnificent aerial photographs of the Zeitz MOCAA construction site that were taken by our resident photographer, Marc Hoberman. Makes you want to hop on a chopper now, doesn’t it?