This September, Africa’s largest contemporary art museum opened its doors. Once the tallest building on Sub-Saharian Africa, this grain silo is now back to life and displays the scars of its heavy history contrasting with the new concrete used for its stabilisation.
This project was initiated by the former German CEO of Puma, Jochen Zeitz. He happens to be the one providing most of the art exhibited in the 100 galleries going around the remarkable atrium shaped as a corn grain by the famous British artist Thomas Heatherwick.
The architect claimed in a recent interview that the goal was to create an interior so monumental that people can’t resist stepping inside.
This atrium currently presents Nicholas Hlobo’s impressive dragon-like sculpture in reference of the Xhosa mythology. The impressive work and carving of the building make it certain that it will become one of the most photographed constructions on the continent.
Cape Town, which has seen its artistic scene flourished the past few years, is now pushing above its weight and can rival with New York and its MoMa, London and the Tate Modern or even Paris and its Pompidou Centre.
More than 80 cube-like gallery spaces display the work of artists from all over Africa
such as the feminist Mouna Karray (Tunisia), Nandipha Mntambo (Swaziland), Edson Chagas from Angola who received the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennal and South Africans like Kendel Geers or even William Kentridge whose art is exposed across the globe, including the MoMa.
More than a museum it’s an open door to Africa and its cultures.
The Zeitz MOCAA is more than just a museum, it also hosts centres for photography and moving images, an arts education centre, a costume institute and a curatorial training programme. Besides, even though the standard entry fee is beyond most of South Africans’s budget, the museum is free, daily, for under -18s and every Wednesday for anyone holding an African passport.
Another interesting fact is the luxurious and iconic boutique hotel, obviously called The Silo, that opened in the upper floors of the building. It interestingly contrasts with the museumthrough its totally different architecture: concrete replaced by glass windows and steel.
But have already in mind that it’s just the perfect place for a board of directors or high end incentive.