On my recent trip to the Mother City, I looked up details about an art gallery I had caught glimpses about on various social media. I know absolutely nothing about art, but I do get excited about the art of buildings and I knew that I had to explore this gallery more.
The Zeitz Mocaa is primarily an African Art gallery, priding itself on it’s ‘not for profit ‘ principles. They prove this by allowing African residents free admission for a few hours every week. I planned my visit for this time. But the opportunity came the day before, to explore the outside of the building and the fantastic regeneration of the once derelict sections of the Waterfront harbour. I was totally impressed. Luxury apartments, canals, yachts, Standing Upright Paddlers (SUP), water bikes, and canal taxis made it other worldly for this, usually landlocked girl.
I wore a smile for most of the morning when my jaw wasn’t hanging open at the marvel of the architecture, all under the beauty of Table mountain.
The time for my visit to the inside of the gallery arrived and I was beyond excited. After collecting my audio tour headset and showing my Identity card, I turned to look at the inside properly. I had tried not to look too much until the formalities were done, and I slowly let my eyes take in the space. I don’t know what happens internally but my eyes began to leak like they did standing outside Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.I heard myself gasp at the volume of space and the light and the simplicity of the design.
I fumbled with the audio guide and learned that the shape was designed like a magnified kernel of grain. The huge cement slabs scoured away to give it the graceful shape of it’s once inhabitants. I touched the wall and found my way to the spiral staircase, trying to dodge people so that their energy wouldn’t dilute what I was trying to experience. Lots of youngsters were exploring the art exhibition, which for me was purely secondary to the concrete shine and curves that seemed to shimmer at me when I touched it.
I climbed each level and walked through the square block rooms containing the artworks and multi media but I was hungry for the story of the building. The audio device malfunctioned and I only realised it when the tour was nearly over. I was obviously distracted but after a technical reset of off/on, I listened to all the tracks while drinking Aqua (lol) in the top level restaurant with a magnificent view of the bustling harbour.
The windows are cleverly designed too, which add to the feeling of love and thought, by the people who considered this building with such respect. It probably has never experienced such reverence before. It seems like the building is glowing and is smiling from the inside out. It’s more than a building to me. It’s a sacred space of stone, light and humans.
As it should be.