Zeitz Mocaa’s got competition: Norval Foundation, CPT’s new art attraction

Times Live | Andrea Nagel

When Serge Alain Nitegeka was 11 years old, an ethnic civil war drove him and his family to flee their home in Burundi for Rwanda. His trauma intensified when Rwanda was also plunged into hostilities and he had to run away again. The experience of being a young refugee still haunts the Johannesburg-based artist and the tangled mess of stained dark wooden planks that fills the atrium of Cape Town’s latest large-scale art space is testament to his pain. The chaotic structure that juts out in all directions with its twisted and interlaced beams resembling makeshift barriers is designed to mimic the harrowing experience of being a refugee. I had to duck under or step over the planks as I passed through the sculpture, palpably experiencing the fear and anxiety of crossing secretively and cautiously over borders. But the imposter, an exit sign tacked to the installation, insisted on by the fire inspector, is a reminder that I’m in this new, impressive space that is a tribute to the vibrancy of the old and the new South African art scenes.

Nitegeka’s sculpture is one of the large-scale works that forms part of the first group of exhibitions at Cape Town’s latest art attraction, Norval Foundation. I first heard about the project from an art journalist friend over a year ago, when all eyes were on the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Mocaa), an imposing architectural feat of an art museum, designed by British celebrity architect Thomas Heatherwick – who designed London’s new-look buses and Manhattan’s New York Yards with its strange honeycomb structure…read more

Image: A view of the stark, modern Norval Foundation museum from the sculpture garden. Andrea Nagel.