With the new Zeitz Museum recently opening in Cape Town there has been a renewed interest in the contemporary arts in South Africa.
Is this kind of art also important in an historic town like Stellenbosch?
Philosophical thinkers, artists and poets are often the “prophets” of our world, preventing our culture from stagnating. Art can change and renew norms and patterns in a society, often faster and easier than ‘policy’.
An example of this happening is at GUS, a Stellenbosch art gallery that has unfolded as a space of renewal, critical thinking and transformation. By simply creating space for the arts (jazz, art, speakers, poetry), Stellenbosch’s town center is now accessible to more people. It becomes a place of safe and sincere conversation.
The artwork above (which was part of Kirstin Warries’ Gradex Project) made a lot of Stellenbossers a bit uncomfortable. As with many contemporary art, young artists need to question the status quo and give a “voice” to those who do not have.
THE ZEITZ MOCAA:
This has been to a large extent the role of the MOCAA: providing an international platform for art from across Africa.
The museum’s German name, “Zeitz”, was inspired by the collector. The philanthropist and business person Jochen Zeitz has worked with Sir Richard Branson, was CEO of PUMA, was on the board of directors of Harley-Davidson and was the founder of the Zeitz Foundation for Intercultural Ecosphere Safety.
Over the past few years, Zeitz worked with curator Mark Coetzee to build a world-class art collection with art from Africa and the Diaspora. The vision was to eventually establish a contemporary art museum on the African continent.
Because of this we have the Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (abbreviated MOCAA) today. If you haven’t been there yourself, check out the Stellenbosch Visio’s in-depth article or check out the MOCAA website. Wednesdays between 10:00 – 13:00 everybody from the African continent has free access to the museum. Just remember your ID or license when you go!
WHAT ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART ON STELLENBOSCH?
If you want to explore Stellenbosch’s own contemporary art scene, go to one of these art galleries:
- SMAC Stellenbosch, Church Street, De Wet Plein
- Absolut art, Ryneveld Street – upper storey
- MOK – Modern Kontemporêr, at Muratie wine estate
- The gallery at Cavalli – at Cavalli, R44 on the way to SomersetWest
- GUS – The galery space of the University of Stellenbosch, corner of Dorp Street and Bird Street
- Ghetto art gallery – in Birdstraat, on the way to Kayamandi
ART AND HISTORY
GUS is located in an historic Lutheran church building, designed by the architect Carl Otto Hager. Keep an eye on GUS’s fb page for Jazz events, poetry sessions and interesting speakers.
The P.J. Olivier art school on the Braak also has an interesting history as if forms part of the historic Rhenish missionary complex.
‘nDromer is a young Stellenbosser who loves writing about the everyday things that often go unnoticed. She likes dusty books and seeing how the past isn’t always what it seems. She has written about Stellenbosch, it’s heritage and it’s people almost every week since 2015.
Here are a few pictures from the Zeitz museum: