Cape Town (3 October 2018) – The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) has today announced the formation of the Zeitz MOCAA Curatorial Advisory Group. Chaired by Gavin Jantjes, the Curatorial Advisory Group will include curators Koyo Kouoh and Gabi Ngcobo, and Zeitz MOCAA Board of Advisors member, Isaac Julien.
The Zeitz MOCAA Curatorial Advisory Group will work with the museum’s Chief Curator and its curatorial team to provide guidance on museum initiatives and projects. Priorities for the group will include the further advancement of the exhibition schedule; strategy, research, and development of the museum collections; and advising the museum’s curators on the development of curatorial projects. This group of leading art professionals and practitioners will also advise on the international search for an appointment of the museum’s permanent Chief Curator. Until such time, Acting Chief Curator, Azu Nwagbogu, will be a liaison to the group.
Artist, curator, writer, lecturer and respected voice in the global art scene, South African born Gavin Jantjes brings over 40 years of experience working with leading international institutions, including the Arts Council of Great Britain, Tate Liverpool, London’s Serpentine Gallery and the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, in Oslo.
“Zeitz MOCAA sets a precedent for a different perception of African contemporary art emerging from the continent and internationally. I am glad to be a part of this great African enterprise, and to help it sustain the shift in attitude and understanding it will undoubtedly create,” commented Jantjes.
Joining him in the Zeitz MOCAA Curatorial Advisory Group are Koyo Kouoh, a Cameroonian-born curator and cultural producer based in Dakar, Senegal; independent curator, artist and educator, Gabi Ngcobo, who recently served as curator for the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art; and award-winning installation artist and filmmaker, Isaac Julien CBE.
The creation of the Zeitz MOCAA Curatorial Advisory Group comes as the museum celebrates its first anniversary, having welcomed 350 000 visitors in its first year of operation.
The formation of the Zeitz MOCAA Curatorial Advisory Group is part of the continued focus on driving curatorial excellence and representation across the institution. The museum continues to be guided by its founding mission to advance, promote, and preserve contemporary art and culture from Africa and its diaspora.
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Biographies of the members of the Zeitz MOCAA Curatorial Advisory Group
Cape Town-born Gavin Jantjes is a painter, curator, writer and lecturer. He attended Harald Cressy High School and the Michaelis School of Fine Art at UCT in Cape Town; and, completed his post-graduate studies at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg, Germany, on a DAAD scholarship. He was granted political asylum in Germany in 1973.
Jantjes worked as a consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ anti-apartheid campaign and for the European Commission’s CIRCLE group, developing policy on cultural diversity.
He moved his studio to Wiltshire, England in 1982, and held several positions at major institutions in the UK. These include Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art; a councillor of the Arts Council of Great Britain; consulting on the creation of the Institute of New International Visual Art (inIVA); serving on the advisory board of the Tate Liverpool; and serving as a trustee at London’s Whitechapel and Serpentine Galleries. He was a member of the Finding Commission of Documenta 13 and a board member of OCA the Office for Contemporary Art Norway.
He was appointed as Artistic Director of the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Hovikodden and Senior Consultant for International Contemporary Exhibitions as the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, both in Oslo. He has curated over fifty exhibitions of international art that includes many African artists and was the Project Director of the Visual Century Project on 20th Century and contemporary South Africa art, resulting in the publication, Visual Century: South African Art in Context 1907 – 2007 volumes 1 – 4, published in 2011.
He returned to his studio in Oslo in 2015, with recent exhibitions at Oslo Kunstforeining, Norway, and Dakar Biennale 2018, Senegal.
Cameroonian-born Koyo Kouoh is the founding artistic director of RAW Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society in Dakar. For Carnegie International, 57th edition, 2018, Kouoh is participating with Dig Where You Stand, an exhibition within the exhibition based on the Carnegie Museum of Art’s collection. With Rasha Salti, she recently co-curated Saving Bruce Lee: African and Arab Cinema in the Era of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, 2018.
Previously, Kouoh was the curator of 1:54 FORUM, the educational programme at the Contemporary African Art Fair in London and New York; and, served on the curatorial teams for documenta 12 (2007) and documenta 13 (2012). Kouoh was the curator of “Still (the) Barbarians,” 37th EVA International, Ireland’s Biennial in Limerick (2016), and, has curated multiple exhibitions internationally as well as published widely including Word!Word!Word! Issa Samb and the undecipherable form, RAW Material Company/OCA/Sternberg Press (2013), the first monograph dedicated to the work of seminal Senegalese artist Issa Samb aka Joe Ouakam; Condition Report on Building Art Institutions in Africa, a collection of essays resulting from the eponymous symposium held in Dakar in January 2012; and Chronicle of a Revolt: Photographs of a Season of Protest, RAW Material Company & Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2012).
Besides a sustained theoretical, exhibition, and residency program at RAW Material Company, she maintains a critical curatorial and advisory activity and regularly takes part in juries and selection committees. She lives and works between Dakar and Basel.
South African-born Gabi Ngcobo served as curator for the recent 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Since the early 2000s, Ngcobo has been engaged in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope. She is a founding member of the Johannesburg based collaborative platforms NGO – Nothing Gets Organised and Center for Historical Reenactments.
In 2016 Ngcobo was one of the co-curators of the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo and cocurated A Labour of Love at Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt and Johannesburg Art Gallery. She has worked at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town and at the Cape Africa Platform, where she co-curated the Cape07 Biennale, 2007.
Ngcobo has taught at the Wits School of Arts, the University of Witwatersrand and her writings have been published in various catalogues, books, and journals.
Filmmaker and installation artist, Isaac Julien CBE RA, was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. His multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. His 1989 documentary-drama exploring author Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance titled Looking for Langston garnered Julien a cult following while his 1991 debut feature Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Having recently worked on conserving and restoring Looking for Langston images from his extensive archive, he exhibited photographic works at Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2017), Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco (2016) and Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam (2016) with a screening of the film in its original 16mm print at Tate Britain.
Julien’s solo exhibitions and presentations include Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town (2017); Platform-L Contemporary Art Centre, Seoul (2017); The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2017); Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2016); MAC Niterói, Rio de Janeiro (2016); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City (2016); De Pont Museum, Netherlands (2015); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2013); The Bass Museum, Miami (2010); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2009); Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2005); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005) and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005). His latest work, Stones Against Diamonds, was shown in 2015 as part of the Rolls-Royce Art Programme at the Venice Biennale, at Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach.
Julien participated in the Venice Biennale at the inaugural Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th edition in 2017 with Western Union: Small Boats. Previously, he presented Kapital and directed Das Kapital Oratorio in the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor, in 2015. His work has also been exhibited in the 7th Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2008); Prospect 1, New Orleans (2008); Performa 07, New York (2007) and in documenta 11, Kassel (2002).
Julien’s work is held in collections that include: Tate, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; the LUMA Foundation, Arles; the Kramlich Collection; the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town. In 2016 the Towner Art Gallery Collection (Eastbourne, UK) acquired Ten Thousand Waves (2010) as part of a Moving Image Fund program. Ten Thousand Waves, a globally acclaimed multiple screen installation work, premiered at the 2010 Sydney Biennale and has gone on to be exhibited extensively – recently at Platform-L in Seoul (2017) and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (2016) as well as the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2013, with whom he also published a comprehensive monographic survey of his life and work, titled ‘Riot’.
Julien has taught extensively, holding posts such as Chair of Global Art at University of Arts London (2014-2016) and Professor of Media Art at Staatliche Hoscschule fur Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, Germany (2008 – 2016). He is the recipient of the James Robert Brudner ‘83 Memorial Prize and Lectures at Yale University (2016). Most recently he received the Charles Wollaston Award (2017), for most distinguished work at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and in 2018, he was made a Royal Academician. Julien was awarded the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours, 2017.