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Monday Nov 25, 2013

'Conversion to art museum will save V&A silo'

The proposed renovations to the grain silo building at the V&A Waterfront will 'preserve' the historical significance of the industrial landmark, says the provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.

It was announced last week that R500 million would be spent renovating the building to house African artworks owned by German collector Jochen Zeitz.

V&A Waterfront chief executive David Green said the architectural plans would respect the silo's industrial heritage. The architect is to be named in February. Green said he could not disclose the value of the collection for security reasons.

'Zeitz has committed an acquisitions budget to acquire important artworks to remain on the edge of contemporary cultural production,' he said.

Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Ivan Meyer said the museum would be putting the building to good use.

'The design proposal for the reuse of the grain silo has been through an extensive process with Heritage Western Cape and has been approved. The art gallery ensures the main part of the building will be retained, including important elements of the industrial processes that are part of its history and heritage,' he said.

Meyer said there had been attempts to have the grain silo demolished.

'The building's future has been uncertain for years.'

Zeitz's collection of African art is one of the world's most extensive and includes works by German painter OwusuAnkomah, Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai and Cape Town-born Marlene Dumas.

The museum is to be named the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.

African Arts Institute director Mike van Graan said a museum that focused on art from the region was long overdue.

'The art scene in South Africa is doing better than in other African countries. We are always looking for new platforms where our artists and their work can be exposed to the public. While the arts festivals in Johannesburg and Cape Town provide this platform, this museum will be a permanent arts focus.'

Selected works from the collection went on display on Saturday at the Zeitz Museum Pavilion at the Waterfront, where they will be shown for 30 months until the renovations are completed.

Cape Times


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