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Zeitz MOCAA Unveils Sala, New Permanent Collection Exhibition

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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), in collaboration with the 2023 cohort of University of the Western Cape (UWC) Museum Fellows, presents Sala, offering an intimate exploration of Zeitz MOCAA’s permanent collection archive.

Salah Elmur (b. 1966, Sudan). The Official Party, 2019. Acrylic on canvas (Courtesy: Zeitz MOCAA Permanent Collection)

Through an extensive research project, Sala seeks to comprehend the institution’s values, the societal role of contemporary art, the museum team’s facilitation and mediation of artists’ work, and the institution’s connection with its audience.

Curated by Storm Janse van Rensburg in collaboration with the Zeitz MOCAA & University of the Western Cape (UWC) Museum Fellows 2023: Fine arts graduates Evaan Jason Ferreira from South Africa and Bulelwa Kunene from Eswatini, educator Mona Eshraghi Hakimi from Malawi, visual anthropology graduate Pauline Buhlebenkosi Ndhlovu from Namibia and Mozambican architect and urban planner Ana Raquel Machava.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Image Courtesy: Keim)

At the core of the exhibition are compelling questions that prompt audiences to scrutinize the boundaries and potentials of the museum. This call to exploration is encapsulated in the exhibition’s title — Sala. Borrowed from various Nguni languages in Southern Africa, ‘Sala’ plays a part in the departure ritual, forming a call and response: “Hamba Kahle,” conveying well wishes to those leaving, and “Sala Kahle,” also extending a welcome to those remaining. Thus, Sala extends an invitation from Zeitz MOCAA for visitors to linger not only with the showcased artists but also to engage in the institution’s reimagination as a newly embodied space.

The exhibition showcases 17 artists, each contributing to the evolving interpretation of ‘sala’ within the narrative — transforming from a set of questions to an earnest invitation to stay, contemplate, and engage with the artists, artworks, and the space itself.

Among the featured artists is the South African multi-disciplinary artist Thania Petersen, whose soundscapes draw from her Sufi spiritual upbringing. Malagasy inter-disciplinary artist and designer Joël Andrianomearisoa utilize black and white photography to navigate the dimension of time, while Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui challenges geographical constraints by elevating everyday materials.

Mouna Karray. Image courtesy of Zeitz MOCAA.

The diverse lineup also includes:

South African performance and painting artist Athi-Patra Ruga

Kenyan sculptor and photographer Cyrus Kabiru

Angolan photographer Edson Chagas

American writer, illustrator, and painter Frohawk Two Feathers

Benin painter, Julien Sinzogan

Zimbabwean multi-disciplinary artist and activist Kudzanai Chiurai

South African artist Lungiswa Gqunta, and

South African sculptor Michele Mathison

Tunisian-born photographer Mouna Karray

South African painter and collagist Neo Matloga

South African multi-disciplinary artist Robin Rhode

American artist Rashid Johnson

Sudanese painter, designer, and filmmaker Salah Elmur

South African artist Zanele Muholi, specializing in photography, video, and installation.

Sala Collection Exhibition (Courtesy: Zeitz MOCAA)

Through diverse mediums, these artists seamlessly contribute to the rich tapestry of Sala, inviting audiences to linger, reflect, and converse within the transformed museum space. The AKO Foundation supports the exhibition and contribution by Zeitz MOCAA and University of the Western Cape (UWC) Museum Fellows. Gucci and the Mellon Foundation proudly support Zeitz MOCAA’s curatorial, exhibition, and fellowship programming.

Author

Derrick Chidumebi is a creative writer and growth marketer hailing from Lagos, Nigeria. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Chemistry from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria, and is the founder of The Eko Place, a media/marketing agency based in Lagos, Nigeria. Currently, he serves as a writer for Art News Africa.

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