Cape Town Culture Scene / 2021

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to art and culture spaces in Cape Town. Many residents have been staying indoors so as to mitigate the risk of infection. The pandemic has resulted in a continued shift onto online platforms such as websites and social media apps such as Instagram. In 2021 there is virtually not a single gallery or museum that does not have an Instagram page to share content with its audience. In April 2015 when I was a guest curator at Weltkulturen Museum I suggested to the media department that they create an Instagram page to promote artefacts and events taking place at the museum. They now have 2892 followers.

The online viewing experience does not however replace the lived experience of viewing art in a physical gallery or museum. The online space does not reflect the three dimensionality of a sculpture or the depth of impasto on a painting’s surface. It also does not do justice to the scale or size of an artwork.

ZEITZ MOCAA

MOCAA stands for Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.

Zeitz MOCAA is a massive addition to the Cape Town and South African art scene. It was opened in 2017 in the Cape Town waterfront vicinity.

Jochen Zeitz was previously the director of PUMA Africa and became increasingly interested in the production of art in Africa. He thus became an art collector with a focus on Africa.

For many years the grain silos at the V&A waterfront were dormant with little activity until the decision was made to reinvent them into a contemporary art museum. This renovation was undertaken by one of England’s leading and innovative designers, Thomas Heatherwick.

The renovation and redesign of the grain silos into ZEITZ MOCAA has completely reinvented this industrial space.

Spatially there are still considerable challenges to this new art museum as there are many citizens of Cape Town who cannot easily access the physical museum. If there is transport available to students, then it would be easier for students to gain access to the museum. When the museum’s acquisition policy started why did the museum not plan or budget for new busses to transport students from lower income parts of Cape Town?

If there is a dedicated transport facility, then many more students will be able to experience Zeitz MOCAA and gain a further understanding into art and cultural spaces.

SOLUTION: When every student arrives at ZEITZ they are offered a MOCAA COFFEE to take in with them, especially during winter when it is colder than usual.

There has to be a follow-on from 1 visit to ZEITZ MOCAA, otherwise it becomes an isolated experience.

Every Grade 8–10 student studying at a school in: Langa, Khayelitsha, Blue Downs, Nyanga, Lavender Hill, Bonteheuwel, Masiphumelele, Delft, Belhar, Factreton, Athlone and Dunoon should visit ZEITZ MOCAA once per a year.

Instagram

This visual platform plays a dynamic role in enabling content to be streamed and for it to be accessible. Instagram is becoming a vital visual educative tool as it enables content to be accessible and instantaneous. It is making access between artists, buyers, dealers, collectors easier too. If one is interested, they can send a message directly to the artist or gallery.

Private Galleries

Private galleries within Cape Town offer the viewer a place to meditate, to see exhibitions and to speak to professionals and specialists in the set field. They enable access into the art world and are in effect showrooms for the artist’s works. They provide a space for people to admire the time and effort that goes into creating artworks. Artworks are also a celebration of the handmade, the unique in a world with so many mass-produced items.

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