The Zeitz MOCAA opened this month in Cape Town.

By Jess McHugh
September 29, 2017
Credit: Iwan Baan

Cape Town's latest addition to the art landscape celebrates the African continent's often under-represented contemporary scene.

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), which opened this month, is the largest contemporary African art museum in the world, and the first location entirely dedicated to the tradition, according to The Telegraph. Art critics have hailed it as South Africa's answer to London's Tate Modern.

Credit: Antonia Steyn

Featuring 100 galleries spread over nine floors, the museum includes work from Athi-Patra Ruga, Chris Ofli, Daniella Mooney, and Edson Chagas, to name a few. A variety of mediums are represented, from large-scale sculpture to painting and video installations.

The building comprises 42 former grain silos, and there is an attached hotel and restaurant. Situated along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (a burgeoning creative neighborhood) in a 1920s era construction, the sprawling complex also includes an educational center.

Credit: Iwan Baan

Some commentators have criticized the new museum, pointing to the fact that the museum's leadership and founding board members are dominated by white people.

The architects, chief curator, and namesake are all white, Smithsonian Magazine reported.

“When researching Zeitz, there is certainly some difficulty in ignoring the overarching amount of white, male voices present in the construction of the museum," wrote Ellen Agnew in a profile for ART AFRICA magazine.

Still, art industry professionals and diplomats have hailed the new museum.

Credit: Antonia Steyn

"By providing a platform for the incredibly talented and passionate artists across Africa and beyond, this museum fills a critical gap in the continent’s art scene. I am proud to be part of this journey,” said Kofi Annan, a Zeitz Mocaa patron and former U.N. secretary general, in a press release.

Entry to the museum is 180 rand (approximately $13.50), and the fee is waived for South African and African citizens from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.