South Africa

Gabi Ngcobo is the New Director at Kunstinstituut Melly

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Gabi Ngcobo has been appointed as the new director of Kunstinstituut Melly in Rotterdam. Selected by the Supervisory Board of Kunstinstituut Melly following an open call, Ngcobo, an internationally renowned curator, comes to this role from her job as Curatorial Director of the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Gabi Ngcobo.
Image courtesy of Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam.

Ngcobo will succeed Sofa Hernández Chong Cuy, who has been the director at the gallery since 2018 and will step down at the end of 2023. Kunstinstituut Melly’s policy states that a director has a maximum tenure of six years.

Kunstinstituut Melly’s mission is to present exhibitions and organize activities that engage the public in experiencing and learning from the latest developments in contemporary art and theory. It creates exhibitions, publications, and educational programs of artistic merit and cultural significance. It also commissions new art, supports innovative research, and advocates for cultural partnerships. Kunstinstituut Melly conducts original curatorial work, fosters public dialogue, and welcomes audiences year-round in its space in Rotterdam.

Gabi Ngcobo is an artist and curator based in Johannesburg and Berlin. Since the early 2000s, Ngcobo has been engaged in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope. In 2018, she curated the tenth edition of the Berlin Biennale, titled We Don’t Need Another Hero, and in 2016 she co-curated the 32nd São Paulo Biennial, Incenteza Viva. Her recent projects include The Show is Over (2022) at the South London Gallery, which she co-curated with artist Oscar Murillo, and The ‘t’ is Silent (2021) at Deurle’s Museum Dhondt-Dhaenes.

She has been teaching at the Wits School of Arts, University of Witswatersrand, SA since 2011. Her writings have been published in various catalogs, books, and journals. Her writing has been published widely. Recent essays were included in the exhibition catalogs Shooting Down Babylon: The Tracey Rose Retrospective (2022) at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa; Uneven Bodies (2021) at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, Aotearoa New Zealand; and, The Stronger We Become (2019) in the South African Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Italy.

Since the establishment of Kunstinstituut Melly in 1990, the appointed directors have been given meaningful time, resources, and assistance to direct the institution’s program. 

Ngcobo’s tenure will start in January 2024.


Iyanuoluwa Adenle is a graduate of Linguistics and African Languages from Obafemi Awolowo University. She is a creative writer and art enthusiast with publications in several journals. She is a writer at Art News Africa.

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