Earlier today we wrote about the incredible Umkhumbane Cultural and Heritage Museum in Cato Manor that was recently awarded top honours at the Africa Architecture Awards. The museum is but one part of a larger project that will look at both the history of Cato Manor and the broader KwaZulu-Natal region, and its future, offering a space for local artists and performers to display their work, thereby creating opportunities and employment for people from the area.
Museums are not only about our history, as the newly opened Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Mocca) in Cape Town shows us, but also about celebrating what’s going on in the world at the moment. The Mocca, which incidentally was the venue of the inaugural Africa Architecture Awards, is set to become the world’s most important exhibition space for African art, playing host to more than 80 gallery spaces. The building itself ties itself to Africa, with the transformation of the original concrete grain silos referencing the mealie plant, a staple in the South African diet.
And it seems that African design is hot stuff internationally as well, with Swedish furniture manufacturer, IKEA, partnering with local brand, Design Indaba, to create an African inspired and designed collection that will officially launch in 2019.
In celebrating African artists we are also helping to showcase Africa’s past, which is referenced in so many of the works of local artists. Viva Africa!