When we completed our first year of operating in September 2018, we had much to celebrate and much to look forward to in the coming years. The museum’s inauguration on 22 September 2017 captured the imagination of the global art community, and set the foundations for us to commit to building a sustainable future, while engaging wider African and international audiences. The positive response to our opening weekend exceeded our expectations, and we were honoured to have welcomed Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to perform a blessing of the building when it was opened to the public.
We are delighted to have welcomed nearly 300 000 visitors to Zeitz MOCAA in our inaugural year; over 130 000 of these visitors were admitted FREE of charge as part of our “Access for All” initiatives, underscoring our commitment to accessibility, specifically targeting student and educational groups. This record number of inaugural-year visitors positions Zeitz MOCAA as the most highly attended contemporary art museum on the African continent.
We were honoured to be the recipient of a number of accolades during this year, including winning the Cultural Architecture category in the ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards; the Best New Public Building in the Wallpaper* Design Awards; the Best New Museum in Africa/Middle East/UAE, and the overall Cultural Destination of the Year at the Leading Culture Destinations Awards; and being named as one of TIME magazine’s The World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2018.
Year one saw us continue to work hard to attract world-class professional talent for the museum, as well as to ensure good governance across the institution. Early in the year, we expanded our leadership team with the appointment of three co-directors to head our Curatorial, Institutional Advancement and Operations departments.
The museum’s management team was further strengthened by the appointment of several senior staff and heads of departments, overseeing Education and Programming within the Curatorial department, as well as Patron and Member Relations, Communications, Marketing, and Publications within the Institutional Advancement department. This has been driven by our commitment to diversity, and we are proud of the diversity and talent demonstrated by our nearly 50-strong staff complement.
Towards the end of the year, the museum engaged and appointed a dynamic Curatorial Advisory Group to guide the exhibition programme, while strengthening the museum’s connection to the global art community. Chaired by Gavin Jantjes, the Curatorial Advisory Group includes curators Koyo Kouoh, Gabi Ngcobo, and Zeitz MOCAA Board of Advisors member, Isaac Julien.
The year was filled by a number of exciting exhibitions, public programmes, and special events taking place in and around the museum – ranging from artist talks and lectures, to children’s workshops and a fashion film series. With this steady development in programming, the museum continues to engage existing members while increasing our offerings and appeal to new audiences. In addition, we have cemented our commitment to driving research, much of which will be guided by the new hires we have made at a senior level, as well as implemented training and development programmes for museum staff, including the curatorial team.
In the months following the museum’s opening, we presented a number of new exhibitions. Notably, these included a major survey exhibition featuring 29 artists from Zimbabwe, entitled Five Bhobh: Painting at the End of an Era; and, Now and Then: Guercino and Kudzanai Chiurai, an intimate comparative display that featured a Baroque-era Italian masterpiece painting by Guercino, in conversation with a contemporary video work by Kudzanai Chiurai.
Since Zeitz MOCAA’s inauguration, the museum has pursued numerous programmes guided by our mission to advance, promote and preserve arts and culture from Africa and its diaspora; to provide public access to contemporary art, to operate schools’ programmes that enrich, inspire and bring art and culture to school children; and to help create a new platform for African art and culture.
It is with these successes that we are pleased to present this review of our first year. This review includes highlights of exhibitions, developments and achievements, as well as some topline numbers from our audited financials from our first year of operation. And with this report complete, we look ahead to what the future has in store. At the time of publication of this document, we were extremely pleased to have announced the appointment of Koyo Kouoh as our permanent Executive Director and Chief Curator, beginning May 2019. Koyo is an outstanding arts leader and a passionate visionary who has exemplary competence and extended network in all capacities of institutional operations, in Africa and globally. She will be invaluable to us in writing a progressive plan for the museum, and we are very much looking forward to seeing her ideas for Zeitz MOCAA unfold.
Thank you to our Board of Advisors for their wise counsel and constant support. Your efforts and guidance have been invaluable to us in our first year of operation. And of course, thank you to all of our staff and partners – past and current – for the essential roles that you have played in bringing the museum into existence. Without you, we would not be where we are today.
We are confident in our vision to become a contemporary art museum that represents our times, one that participates in and leads global discourse, one that grows in relevance, and one that is a leading voice in the international art world. We very much hope that you will join us on the next part of our journey at Zeitz MOCAA.
David Green, Co-founder
Jochen Zeitz, Co-founder
Please download the full Annual Review below.
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