Roger Ballen Centre for Photography to celebrate and historicise African art

Ahead of its Grand Opening in September 2017, the Zeitz Museum of  Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) has received major gifts from the Roger Ballen Foundation and the Eiger Foundation to Zeitz MOCAA’s endowment to establish and support a Centre for Photography. The gifts are the largest financial donations received by the museum, to date, from a foundation, as well as a near-complete print collection of the acclaimed photographer’s work.

Roger Ballen is an American photographer living in Johannesburg, and is one of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century.  According to Ballen, it has been a great desire of his to contribute to the understanding of photography in his adopted home, South Africa. “By donating my archive and finance to Zeitz MOCAA, I wish to commit to the ongoing success of this important museum in Africa and ensure that photography is guaranteed a place in the museum’s activities.”

In recognition of this enormous support, Zeitz MOCAA’s Centre for Photography has been named the Roger Ballen Foundation Centre for Photography.  According to the Zeitz MOCAA, “The investment of the donations will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the museum now, and for generations to come, and will also ensure a committed focus on photography as part of Zeitz MOCAA’s mission.”

Roger Ballen, Dresie and Casie, Twins, Western Transvaal, 1993

Roger Ballen, Dresie and Casie, Twins, Western Transvaal, 1993

Artists donate works to raise funds

A part of 20th-Century at Christie’s, a series of auctions that take place in London from 28 February – 10 March 2017, some of the world’s leading international contemporary artists’ work will be exhibited in order to raise funds for the Zeitz MOCAA, set to open in Cape Town during September 2017.

Fourteen artists including El Anatsui, Roger Ballen, Yto Barrada, Peter Beard, Eamonn Doyle & Niall Sweeney, Frances Goodman, Kendell Geers, Antony Gormley, Rashid Johnson, Isaac Julien, Harland Miller, Athi-Patra Ruga, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Pascale Marthine Tayou, will be offered in Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction on 8 March.

El Anatsui, Warrior, 2015

Looking at the considerable donations by the Roger Ballen Foundation and the Eiger Foundation, the Zeitz MOCAA will indeed be an international force to be reckoned with.

Celebrate and historicise African art

The  Roger  Ballen  Foundation  Centre for  Photography is one of six centres within Zeitz MOCAA. Its mission is to collect, preserve, research, and exhibit cutting-edge contemporary photography, and artworks that use photography, from Africa and its Diaspora, and to develop supporting educational and enrichment programs for all. The  Centre will also exhibit temporary exhibitions of photographers from all over the world to expose local audiences and practitioners to the rich legacy of photography globally.

Housed in the historic Grain Silo that has stood on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront since 1921, Zeitz MOCAA is a path-breaking, not-for-profit institution, which will look to nurture art from across Africa and the African Diaspora. Developing a programme that will help celebrate and historicise African art while supporting new artists, the museum will be housed in one of the most historic structures in Cape Town. The building, comprising 9 500 square metres will display works in 80 galleries over nine floors and is being designed by Thomas Heatherwick. While the size of the museum space itself will enable African and Diaspora artists to be exhibited on a grand scale, in its commitment to art education and open access, the museum will also look to communicate a distinctive sense of art that is available to all – and that will look to inspire generations of artists to come.

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