Cape Town’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) has just appointed independent exhibition maker and cultural producer Koyo Kouoh as executive director and chief curator.
Born in Cameroon, Kouoh is the founder and artistic director of Raw Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society and is renowned in the arts community in a Pan-African and international scope. Specialising in photography, video and art in the public space, she has curated a number of exhibitions internationally and written on contemporary African art.
Her knowledge of the continent’s contemporary players contributing to Africa’s cultural history will help the museum with its core intentions of being a major voice in the field of visual culture.
Zeitz’s current centrepiece TSIATSIA – searching for connection, is a magnificent creation by acclaimed El Anatsui. At 5.6m x 25m, the wall-hanging sculpture is one of the the largest he has made using his bottle top technique. It was created as a site-specific installation to transform the historic façade of London’s Royal Academy during the summer exhibition of 2013, and is presented in collaboration with October Gallery, London.
The ‘canvas’ comprises eight vertical panels composed of regularly patterned pieces and includes found and recycled metals such as aluminium bottle-tops and printers’ plates, whose elements represent in abstract the strokes and splashes painted upon the piece.
His sculptures have been collected by major international museums including the British Museum (London), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the de Young Museum (San Francisco), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Guggenheim (Abu Dhabi), Osaka Foundation of Culture (Osaka), the Tate Modern (London), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York).
In 2013, with TSIATSIA – searching for connection El Anatsui was awarded the prestigious Charles Wollaston Award.
Anatsui has also received numerous other honours for his work: In 2014, he was made an Honorary Royal Academician and elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 2015 he was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 56th Venice Biennale, All the World’s Futures; and in 2016, awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cape Town, and honoured with the Praemium Imperiale Award for Sculpture in 2017.
While in New York, The Africa Center was built on the extraordinary legacy of the Museum for African Art. Founded in 1982, the Museum for African Art organized nearly 70 exhibitions of historical and contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora in 140 venues spread across 80 cities, 17 countries and 4 continents.
See the museum’s past exhibition on El Anatsui and explore this rich history by clicking on the book cover.
Image courtesy of October Gallery