We don’t know much about art, but we know what we like, and we really like the new and extremely exciting Zeitz MOCAA (the Museum of Contemporary African Art) a public not-for-profit contemporary art museum in Cape Town, dedicated to preserving and promoting 21st-century art from Africa and its diaspora.
While activity packed Cape Town has emerged in recent years as a world class art centre, with up-and-coming art schools, vibrant wall art and sculptural installations splashing swathes of colour through its streets, and a sensational gallery scene, Zeitz MOCAA blew my little art lovers away so much they demanded an encore visit to the musuem.
Lucky for them, our extraordinary, and equally arty digs, The Silo Hotel Cape Town, just happens to be located on top of Zeitz MOCAA, making multiple visits as easy as catching an elevator.
The building housing the gallery is a masterpiece in itself. The transformed concrete grain silo, once used to store and grade maize from all over South Africa, is breathtaking, and a must see for any fan of architecture… or extreme up cycling!
The 42 hulking grain silos inside have been carved and bisected into what looks for all the world like the inside of a shiny spaceship. The enormous atrium’s is a collection of fascinating geometric spaces, all enhanced by circular glass lifts and spiral staircases.
The entire mesmerising space is made even more enchanting by the brilliant shafts of light that shoot from the Zeitz MOCAA’s soaring, 33-metre-high glass capped roof.
The effect is so surreally beautiful that we would get cricks in our necks from staring up, if it weren’t for the fact that down, left and right were equally gaze worthy.
While some art galleries may leave young ones a little bored, that’s certainly not our experience of the Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCAA with kids. Without even looking at so much as a single piece of artwork, the kids are in raptures. They play hide and seek behind the almost organic, egg like, curves of the concrete walls in the atrium, launching themselves up and down the spiral staircase and dancing and skipping their way through its not-so-secret passages.
On the rooftop sculpture garden, the transparent floor of which provides the aforementioned skylights to the Atrium, the kids dance and twirl happily, before stopping to try and work out which one of the bulging jewel-like windows above them is our hotel room.
Only when the kids are properly spent from all that rooftop whirling and twirling and exploring the many architectural highlights of Zeitz MOCAA, do we start to explore the of world-class galleries themselves.
And they do not disappoint. Spread over several floors, and dedicated to cutting-edge art, moving pictures and photography, the exhibitions leaves us as wowed as the building.
With traditional art is the focus of many African galleries, this space is all about showcasing the creativity of contemporary African artists, including internationally acclaimed, William Kentridge whose riveting exhibition, ‘Why Should I Hesitate: Putting Drawings to Work’ is newly opened on our visit. (The exhibition closes 31st July, 2020)
During our visit, a whimsical mixed-media children’s exhibition, ‘And So the Stories Ran Away,’ is a particular favourite (the exhibition ends 30 March 2020).
The museum’s first dedicated children’s exhibition is a multi-sensory experience inspired by a Nigerian Ekoi legend. The resulting enchanted world of whimsical creatures, lurking in the mysterious nooks and crannies of the museum’s tunnels is a delight.
The interactive installations have been cleverly crafted from recycled relics, rubbish and remnants, and tell both old and new stories from Africa in the most beautiful way, leaving the the kids uplifted and even more smitten with this beautiful country, and continent, than before.