The opening of the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town has the House and Leisure team brimming with excitement. It’s a truly momentous occasion: not only is this a dazzling architectural feat, led by international legend Thomas Heatherwick, but it’s also the first museum dedicated to celebrating African contemporary art in Africa.
Through a series of in-depth coverage we’ve been exploring what the Zeitz MOCAA means for the local art industry – from a deep dive into the history and development of the museum to a look at Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai’s mid-career retrospective and more. Now, for a more personal take, the House and Leisure team has selected our must-sees from the spectacular array of art on show.
Tiaan Nagel: Editor
The cynical, humorous and highly theatrical works of Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai are my must-sees at the opening of the Zeitz MOCAA. The exhibition will feature controversial pieces from his early career, including some from the We Live in Silence series, as well as a multimedia installation called Conflict Resolution that originally showed in 2012.
Robyn Alexander: Deputy Editor
I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with ‘The Waves’, created by Liza Lou and her team of Zulu artisans. This subtly beautiful piece takes up two full walls in the gallery in which it’s exhibited and is a fascinating and moving work that can be seen as a reflection on craft, women’s work and the creative process itself.
Rosalynd Watson: Managing Editor
I am fascinated by Tunisian artist Mouna Karray’s photographic works. To create them, the artist goes to violent conflict zones, encases herself in a white fabric ‘sack’, then photographs herself in the landscape. The works exude a powerful sense of vulnerability and a strange beauty that makes them hugely compelling and very moving.
Chrizanda Botha: Decor Editor
Mohau Modisakeng’s work is deeply expressive and emotional yet absolutely beautiful. The striking, large-scale photographic prints are most definitely a must-see – they have been exhibited around the world from Boston to London and Dakar. I am looking forward to seeing the work hanging in its new local home, the Zeitz MOCAA.
Ian Martin: Art Director
For me, one of the most captivating pieces on show at the Zeitz MOCAA is ‘Hanging Piece’ by Kendell Geers – it’s basically an empty room filled with bricks suspended from the ceiling by bright red ropes. There’s a strong sense of juxtaposition at play, where objects as aggressive as bricks convey a strange sense of calm while hanging peacefully in the room.
Gemma Bedforth: Junior Art Director
Part of the All Things Being Equal… exhibition, Beninese photographic artist Leonce Raphael Agbodélou is the artist I’m most looking forward to at the opening of the Zeitz MOCAA. I’m drawn to the dramatic content of his ongoing project Citizens of Porto Novo and, as a magpie for all things print and pattern, I’m particularly excited to see his Camouflage series.
Kholeka Kumalo: Features Editor
When the artwork is as intriguing as the artist, it’s a thrilling experience. I am looking forward to seeing what materials and forms Nandipha Mntambo will be coming back to the scene with.
Karen Tennent: Chief Copy Editor
I can’t wait to stand in the museum’s grand atrium and gaze up at the remains of the concrete tubes that were sliced through to create the space. I love it when a new institution not only retains elements from the building it is inhabiting, but also highlights them. The basement level also promises to be an architecturally intriguing area, with glorious geometrics and rounded walls, and I’m excited to see what Heatherwick Studio has done in the other ‘non-traditional’ gallery spaces.
Reshoketswe Mokale: Junior Decor Editor
With work that is light yet meaningful, Nicholas Hlobo is my must-see for the opening of the Zeitz MOCAA. I am completely taken by his use of colour. I admire his use of thread and sewing, which translates into his sculptures too. Sometimes art is literal and sometimes it is figurative; I get a sense of balance between the two from him.
Jessica Hunkin: Online Editor
Every opportunity I’ve had to see Marlene Steyn’s work in person, I’ve been enthralled. Within her strange, self-contained worlds, human figures are twisted, distorted and inter-connected in the most interesting ways. The artist’s larger-than-life tableaus are grotesquely beautiful, but her smaller sculptural pieces are equally arresting. I can’t wait to see what Marlene has on show at the opening of the Zeitz MOCAA – I’m sure it’s going to be mesmerising.
Catherine Franklin: Online Content Producer
The fact that Cyrus Kabiru’s artworks have been added to Zeitz MOCAA’s permanent collection proves how significant he is in the local and global art industry. Best known for his collection of eyewear known as ‘C-Stunners’, Kabiru recycles urban debris and obsolete technology to create sculptures, installations and films. Kabiru also engages with Afrofuturism, one of my favourite genres of African art, and his works challenge the imagination.
Read about the history and development of the Zeitz MOCAA, the first museum dedicated to African contemporary art on the African continent.