Zeitz MOCAA, a new not-for-profit institution, will be housed in the historic Grain Silo at the V&A Waterfront, with the V&A committing over R500-million to the development required for the establishment of the Museum. Built in 1921, and at 57m tall, the Grain Silo remains an icon of the Cape Town skyline. This investment will further the development of art in Africa and acknowledges the important cultural and financial contribution the visual arts sector makes.
As the most visited site in Africa, with over 24 million visitors annually, the V&A Waterfront is the perfect venue to share the cultural artifacts and ideas of Africa with the world.
V&A Waterfront CEO David Green said: “Given the history and socio-economic role the V&A Waterfront plays in South Africa and the sheer number of visits we achieve annually, we felt this gift to the nation, where commerce meets culture, was entirely appropriate and will correctly continue to position the Waterfront as a social nexus for all Capetonians, South Africans and international visitors who take joy in celebrating culture.”
Zeitz MOCAA will comprise over 9,500 square meters (102,000 square feet) placing it among leading contemporary art museums worldwide. Zeitz MOCAA will be spread over nine floors, of which 6,000 square meters (65,000 square feet) will be dedicated to exhibition space. Through an entire floor dedicated to education, the museum will develop a new art-loving, museum-going audience.
Zeitz MOCAA is set to welcome its first visitors at the end of 2016. Until the extensive renovations to the Silo complex are complete, selections from the Zeitz Collection will be presented at Zeitz MOCAA Pavilion, a museum-quality temporary exhibition space also at the V&A Waterfront. The inaugural exhibition which opens at Zeitz MOCAA Pavilion on 23 November, will present the work of Swazi artist Nandipha Mntambo.
The recently released independent Economic Impact study done on the V&A Waterfront clearly shows the impact the V&A Waterfront has had on the City, the Province and the country. Zeitz MOCAA will now bring another dimension—a cultural facility of global significance that provides both an intellectual and cultural focus point.
David Green continued: “This is a unique public/private partnership in South Africa that will additionally breathe life into the Silo district and act as a drawcard to a venture that is non-commercial in nature and is designed specifically for the enjoyment of all the continent’s citizens.”
Jochen Zeitz said: “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 V&A 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.”
Coetzee has relocated to South Africa after a 25 year international career to lead Zeitz MOCAA. Mark Coetzee said: “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 V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz will have major impact for the visual art world and for Cape Town.”
The height of the Grain Silo and its strong silhouette gives it a character that has set it apart as an unusual structure within the V&A Waterfront. The reuse of the structure to house Zeitz MOCAA combines ingenuity, resourcefulness and beauty in a way that will be unique for Africa and give greater respect to the work displayed.
Zeitz MOCAA forms part of a master plan for the Silo district that includes mixed-use developments of residential, commercial, leisure and hotel property with the transformed Grain Silo as the central focus of a public plaza. The architect for the new museum will be announced in February 2014.