An Old Grain Silo Becomes Africa’s Largest Museum of Art
A historic grain silo, nearly 100-year-old, has been transformed into the world’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa. The agric storage facility, made up of vertical tubes, was shaped into the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), which opened to rapturous applause by the South African art community in September. Situated in the scenic V&A Waterfront area in Cape Town, Zeitz MOCAA is the result of four years of cutting, carving and engineering what at times seemed near impossible. The 13 Billion Naira development includes 6,000 square metres of exhibition space in 100 galleries with a rooftop sculpture garden, a shop, restaurant and bar, state-of-the-art storage and conservation areas in the heart of the Waterfront’s silo district. Mark Coetzee, executive director of Zeitz MOCAA, is quoted in the South African media as saying “The museum is a symbol, an icon, of the confidence we feel about being African, the confidence that we feel about our place in the world.” Apart from the founding art collection (the Zeitz Collection, owned by Jochen Zeitz, former CEO of PUMA, the sporting goods company), which is on long-term loan, there will be different centres and institutes within the overall museum, including Centres for a Costume Institute, Photography, the Moving Image, Performative Practice and Art Education. Together with the entire V&A Waterfront, the museum is jointly owned by Growthpoint Properties Limited and the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) represented by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which own the V&A Waterfront. The property owners have funded the redevelopment costs, and are gifting the use of the building at no cost to the institution.
Ade Bantu is Progressive, Activist, But Where is The Melody?
SONGS in the collection Agberos International, Ade Bantu’s new album, remind you of ‘Blackman’ Akeeb Kareem, known for his conscious, Africa focused music in the seventies and eighties. They are suggestive of a throwback to Segun Bucknor’s black awareness songs in the late sixties to early seventies and even Fela’s earliest days. There are hints of B.L.O and Osibisa. But they don’t go far enough. This Nigerian-German artist is in love with Lagos history; he features mementos of independence-era Lagos in Afropolitan Vibes, his well- attended live concert series which moved to Muri Okunola Park on Victoria Island after it outgrew the space at the Freedom Park on Broad Street. The ambience at these Park performances is certainly the drawing card for the largely young, upmarket crowd-it is Today’s equivalent of what it felt to be in Lagbaja’s Motherlan’ concerts from the early noughties to around 2007.
What’s different is that, Bantu features a diverse line up of artists with decent following; a healthy mix of conscious artists and peddlers of hip-hop jollof music. But conscious music can be melodic, dancible and have some rhythmic hook. So, why does one struggle to feel the vibe in Mr. Bantu’s Agberos International? For all the energy and enthusiasm he puts into shows, Ade Bantu’s music itself sounds like it is perpetually in search of completeness. If you can’t make people dance, why don’t you let your message out in full and let it stick? What does “wave her weave in the air” mean if you’re not decisive about the politics of hairstyles, or its commercial elements? The song Oya, Oya, sounds like a desperate attempt to worm into fans of Olamide, or for that matter MC Gallaxy. Mr Bantu doesn’t need this. He can’t claim to want to uplift society on the one hand and struggle to say “dance away your sorrows” on the other. His “conscious music” is neither in the folksy mould of Beautiful Nubia or early Asa, nor is it of the the Bez and Nneka, all of which, “offer something”. He has enough resources (access, contacts, energy) to out-do and upend mainstream jollof music, but for now he seems stuck with so much theorizing, intellectualizing, when he should simply allow the flow.
Will The Former Kunle Afolayan Return?
THE film director Kunle Afolayan, has produced three 2017 movies, back to back, which look nothing like the broad, explorative, ambitious pieces he is reputed for. Other than the excuse that they were commissioned by Africa Magic, it is unclear why the widely acclaimed producer/director of Figurine, Phone Swap, October and The CEO chose to make Omugwo, Roti and The Tribunal in the way he made them; studio drama pieces gasping for air. The movie going public demands the old Kunle Afolayan to return. Audiences may have complained, in the past, that his best movies tended to follow “The Twist” tradition too often, but at this point, they would rather have the Twist, than these would be TV dramas pretending to be movies.
Felabration Starts Tomorrow
THE main events of Felabration, the yearly celebration of the legacy of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, kicks off tomorrow, October 9, 2017. It runs the entire week until Oct 15, 2017, mostly at the New Africa Shrine in Ikeja. The main feature is a line up of local and international acts, performing every evening. But there are also stalks, symposium and (already a preface event) school debate. The event kicks off with The Fela Debates (9th edition) at 9am at NECCA Hall in Ikeja with keynote by Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, a Kenyan professor who served as the Director of his country’s Anti-Corruption Commission from September 2010 to August 2011. Panelists are Jimi Disu, a widely followed Radio Programme anchor and Kadaria Ahmed, former BBC journalist who now hosts a Nigerian TV Talk Show “The Core”, on Channels Television.
• Compiled by Staff of Festac News Press Agency
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