Cape Town, 17 November 2020: On 18 November 2020, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) opens Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project, a solo exhibition by Chilean-born and New York-based artist, Alfredo Jaar. The artist is known for his multidisciplinary practice that explores power relations and socio-political stratifications, as well as issues of migration and discrimination.

The exhibition includes a selection of work from Jaar’s six-year project that honours the more than 800 000 victims of the mass slaughter in the African country between April and July 1994. Countless others who survived the genocide were left scarred by the extreme violence they witnessed and experienced.

The artist’s project began in 1994 when Jaar, incensed by global indifference to the then recent genocide, travelled to Rwanda and surrounding countries, where he documented the stories of survivors of the tragedy.

Over the following six years, Jaar dug into the images, videos, and stories he captured, and began the work of formulating the exhibition which has shown in galleries and museums across the world. This, however, is the first time it will be on view on the African continent.

The exhibition seeks to investigate how outsiders can engage with the trauma of others. It simultaneously critiques the global community’s inaction to the atrocities that took place.

Speaking on Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project, Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Zeitz MOCAA, says: “The exhibition was originally scheduled for opening in April 2020 to coincide with the 26th commemoration of the genocide. Due to lockdown, this was not possible, so we are fortunate that museum visitors will still have the opportunity to view this important exhibition.

Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project is an endeavour that implores us, as viewers, and as human beings, to consider our individual and collective responsibilities. How do we partake in the spectacles of violence, as passive observers and consumers through traditional and social media?

“Jaar’s cutting commentary towards the world’s muted response to these events at that time is palpable. As a critique of the act of looking and seeing, he translates and integrates images into experiences that attempt to highlight the complexity of trauma and the memory that extends beyond that captured within a visual.”

Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project opens to the public on Thursday, 19 November 2020 and will be on view until 23 May 2021. It will be accompanied by a series of public programmes. The exhibition is made possible with support from Goodman Gallery.


Exhibition title: Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project
On view: 19 November 2020 – 23 May 2021
Venue: Level 2, Exhibition Galleries
Curators: Koyo Kouoh, Storm Janse Van Rensburg

About Alfredo Jaar:

Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York. He is known as one of the most uncompromising, compelling, and innovative artists working today. His work considers social justice issues through thought provoking conceptual work.

His work has been shown extensively around the world. Important individual exhibitions include The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005), The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1995), Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994), The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992) and Whitechapel, London (1992).
Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017), KIASMA, Helsinki (2014), Rencontres d’Arles (2013), Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin (2012), Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2008) and Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007).

He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (2013, 2009, 2007, 1986), Sao Paulo (2010, 1989, 1987) as well as Documenta in Kassel (2002, 1987).

He became a MacArthur Fellow in 2000 and a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985. He received the Hiroshima Art Prize in 2018 and the Hasselblad Award in Photography in 2020. He has realised more than seventy public interventions around the world and over sixty monographic publications have been published about his work.

His work can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MOCA and LACMA, Los Angeles; MASP, Museu de Arte de São Paulo; TATE, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centro Reina Sofia, Madrid; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; MAXXI and MACRO, Rome; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlaebeck; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art and Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Japan; M+, Hong Kong; and dozens of institutions and private collections worldwide.