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Rendering of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.

South Africa’s Zeitz Museum to Open Photography Center with Major Donation

Cape Town’s new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, expected to open in September, announced that it has received landmark gifts from the Roger Ballen Foundation and the Eiger Foundation that will contribute to the longterm sustainability of the museum.

While the amount of the gifts was not disclosed, the donation from the Roger Ballen Foundation will allow Zeitz MoCAA to establish a center for photography and will support exhibitions, educational initiatives, and public programming. The center will be one of six others at the institution, including centers dedicated to costumes, art education, the moving image, performance practice, and curatorial excellence. The museum will also receive one signed edition of all of Ballen’s works from 1968 to 1982, as well as any future editions until his death. Throughout the course of his four-decade career as a photographer, Ballen has documented small towns and intimate interiors across South Africa.

“It has been my great desire to contribute to the understanding of photography in South Africa in the country that I call home,” Ballen said. “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.”

The Eiger Foundation is contributing to the endowment for the position of a fulltime curator of photography and one of the galleries within the new center. This foundation is also donating works by Ballen to the museum’s permanent collection, including signed editions from his series “Corps, Small Towns of South Africa;” “Images from Rural South Africa;” “Outland;” “Shadow Chamber;” “Boarding House;” and “Asylum of the Birds.”

Zeitz MoCCA has appointed Azu Nwagbogu, the founder and director of Lagos Photo Festival, as the photography curator at large and Gcotyelwa Mashiqa as the assistant curator of photography.

Established through a partnership between the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz in 2013 and designed by the UK’s Heatherwick Studio, Zeitz MoCCA will boast of eighty galleries for permanent and temporary exhibitions. Mark Coetzee is the institution’s executive director and chief curator. The museum will open next fall with three inaugural exhibitions: a monographic show dedicated to sculptor Nandipha Mntambo; an early career survey of artist and activist Kudzanai Chiurai; and a selection of works by artist Edson Chagas.

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