The Zeitz Mocaa exhibits catch the eye, but there is more depth at the Iziko

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa recently announced that it had more than 70,000 visitors during the first month after opening. Half of them had free admission through their Access for All scheme. The rest paid up to R180.

The building, brilliantly reinvented, is superstriking and an architectural intrigue. Given the project’s high-minded mission — summed up as “art after 2000 by African-connected artists” — the first exhibitions set the marker for the future, the Zeitz voice and its choices.

For its inauguration, the curators, under direction of museum CE Mark Coetzee, made sure that the spaces were filled. There are 12 exhibitions, comprising 60 artists in “over 100 galleries”.

It’s a huge building and making it work as an art platform has not been easy. Spaces and dimensions are all over the place, which sometimes gives the impression that the art on view was positioned to fit.

But some of the odd and awkward rooms and environments work very well.

The gorgeous sub-street-level galleries are in the former transportation tunnels of the grain silo.

Angolan artist Edson Chagas’s installation, Luanda, Encyclopedic City, is a treat as an exploration of a romantic netherworld. Visitors are rewarded with a print of one of 23 photographs of his Found Not Taken series, which jabs the aesthetics of urban decay. Read more