It is the second part of my journey that begins on the Atlantic coast, overlooking the Table Mountain in South Africa. Follow me.
The Victoria and Albert Waterfront represents one of the must-see spots in Cape Town, over 400,000 square meters of shops, hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, entertainment and concert halls, which are visited on average by 24 million of people per year, 23% of whom are tourists. The renovation of these two basins of the port of Cape town started in 1988, the project aimed to revitalize a vast area with several abandoned port infrastructures that were being modernized in phases and transformed into different thematic spaces.
One of these must-sees, right in the heart of this area is the Watershed, an old warehouse that houses hundreds of small stands of African artists and designers. It's all very beautiful and original, the great difficult is the choice. This is only anyone who likes African art!
But, the new crown jewel, in my view, was the opening of the Zeistz Museum of Contemporary Art of South Africa (Zeistz MOCAA), the largest of continent and the diaspora that permanently present African art. The mega project was the result of a partnership between the company that manages V & AW and a German investor Jochen Zeistz with the aim of rehabilitating one of the port's oldest grain silos, which operated for nearly 80 years. The rehabilitation work by a London-based architectural firm, the “Heatherwich studio”, sought to preserve the architectural and industrial legacy of what had been for a long time one of the city's tallest buildings, with its towering 57 meters and result of all these synergies is simply superb.
The museum deserves a visit for several reasons, one of them relates to the excellent work of rehabilitation of the silo. The lobby remain me the atrium of a cathedral, due to the exposed clipping of the cereal tubes, looks like the inside of a bee hive! And with a plus the work by Nicholas Hlobo called "iimpundulu zonke ziyandilandela", the lightning bird, inspired by a Xhosa legend, the location could not have been better, gives it a neo-futuristic atmosphere. The infrastructure itself has not been painted, it maintains its massive and concreted interior, where the highlight goes to the crudeness of its tubular lines underlined by the staircase in bias and the metallic elevator. The ground zero, is another discovery, is like being inside a cut out cocoon from where we can appreciate all this industrial surrounding that envolves us.
Glass has played a very important role in several of the floors, let's say that its transparency further enhances the austere features of the building without too much adulteration, the highlight goes to the top with its diamond-shaped windows where the sculpture garden is located, a cafe and a hotel. It's true, Zeistz MOCAA is not only a museum space, it only works as such, for now, on Friday, over the weekend and Monday, the other days is a business center, entrepreneurship and has specific spaces for events or conventions.
But let us return to what interests me the most ...the artistic work, the various works exhibited in the ZMOCAA come from the private collection of Jochen Zeistz, a long-term loan, which is the cornerstone of this extensive exhibition, as well as of course, the temporary exhibitions that oversee by different curators. I was really fascinated with several of the artists, it is not at all common, at least for a European, to appreciate these contemporary "looks" in a single space and I have to show you some of the pieces and pictorial works exposed. On the other hand, I would like to point out that the selected images are not intended to detract from the work of the other artists. On the contrary, it is only a collection that aims to show the reader what is some of the best art work on the African continent.
Arranged on the various floors are a group of artists who revisit the concept of clothing, through a narrative whose center is the body and where there is a reinterpretation of the materials. Athi-Patra Ruga, Yinka Shonibare, Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou and Nandipha Mntambo use different artistic supports in order to materialize the symbiotic relationship between humans, nature and their surroundings and above is the work of Kudzanai-Chiurai called "Revelations".
This second block includes two types of artistic vehicles, installations and painting. In this context, El Anatsui is a Ghanaian artist who reuses in his work disposable materials from Europe and the Americas that were introduced in Africa. The hyperrealist Jeremiah Quarshie questions the notion of the imaginary and investigates the nature of art and Marlene Steyn paints vivid, diaphanous and complex universes inspired by psychoanalytic theory
And right next to the ZMOCAA when climbing the stairs in the clock tower, beauty takes on other forms that I strongly advise for lovers of the crystallized carbon atoms, the diamond museum. Elisabeth Taylor said rightly, diamonds are forever and is the purest of truths. The guided tour has a maximum capacity and sometimes it is necessary to schedule, particularly at the weekend, I can guarantee that it is worthwhile, the course includes a little history of diamond mining in South Africa, the most important personalities of this sector , the replicas of the most famous diamonds in the world and a stop by the cutting studio, there you can see in action the meticulous work of what I call the artisans of brilliance, who carefully carve and polish each gem with great precision and minutia.
And after having fed the soul, nothing better to appease the physical hunger than a visit to another of the essential points of the sea front, is the "W & F food market", it is not a traditional space where fruits and vegetables are sold, is a place to sample local delicacies and where you can eat a meal if you wish, not to mention a varied and quality offer. The most interesting are the various stands of small agricultural producers and gastronomic entrepreneurs who expose their regional products, and all this deserves a curious bite.