Zeitz MOCAA reopens with Home Is Where The Art Is: Art Is Where The Home Is, an unprecedented exhibition of Capetonians’ art

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) reopened on 22 October 2020 after a seven-month closure with an exhibition dedicated to the art made, owned, and loved by Capetonians. 

Titled Home Is Where The Art Is: Art Is Where The Home Is, the exhibition is unprecedented for a major museum in South Africa and showcases around 2,000 artworks from professional and amateur artists, children, collectors and others.

Exhibition dates: 22 October 2020 – 10 January 2021

After an online entry period, the exhibition saw thousands of city residents make their way to drop-off points across the Peninsula where they queued to submit their entries.   

First-time visitors 

Velile Soha, Abongile Ngqunge, and Ledelle Moe of Soha Gallery, a drop-off centre in Langa, said it was inspiring to be part of the initiative and see the inclusion of young, aspiring artists.  

“Children feel included in a larger conversation about art and are delighted to be invited to exhibit at one of the world’s most prestigious museums. In the coming weeks, they will visit the museum for the first time with their parents,” the trio said. 

Zaid Philander, Programme Manager of the Butterfly Art Project based at Muizenberg’s Casa Labia concurred: “When children see their work in a professional gallery space, the little artist gets to see themselves as a part of a bigger world out there, it instils pride in them, and they get a glimpse of their potential future.”  

Antonia Labia-Sale, Director of the Casa Labia, said the exhibition came at a critical moment: “At a time like this, when everyone is suffering the after-effects of lockdown and Covid-19, it is particularly important for organisations that work in the arenas of art and culture to be supported wherever possible. We were delighted that Casa Labia was used as a venue for drop-offs of artworks.” 

A transformative shift in engaging with audiences 

With South Africans emerging from a hard lockdown that saw them confined to their homes for months, the exhibition places a particularly pertinent focus on the domestic space through the lens of the art that brought people a sense of joy.  

The artwork submissions revealed five themes into which the exhibition has been arranged: The Garden which explores the life of plants, growth, cultivation, and labour, Outside which encompasses landscape and public space, Inside which includes interiors, domestic space and inner psychological states, Time, which notes the march from moment to moment and abstract expressions and Relations which celebrates interconnectedness, relationships and communities 

Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator at Zeitz MOCAA, said the exhibition amplifies the museum’s commitment to providing access for all.  

“Art is in the eye of the beholder could be the translation of Home Is Where The Art Is. With no hierarchy or selection, this is an opportunity for us to find out what art means to our audience and by the same token, attempting to find out what a museum could stand for in current times,” said Koyo.  

“As part of a re-positioning and re-articulation of the role of our institution, this exhibition marks a transformative shift in how Zeitz MOCAA engages with audiences and foregrounds the creativity and diversity of those in Cape Town.”  

Looking beyond the reopening exhibition, Zeitz MOCAA will also welcome shows that will focus attention on the work of individual voices. These include Line In The Sand by Haroon Gunn-Salie which opened on 22 October, Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project in November, Senzeni Marasela’s Waiting for Gebane in December, and Tracey Rose’s retrospective Shooting Down Babylon in February 2021.