Monday 7 February 2022

New book, 'Home Is Where the Art Is' celebrates Cape Town collection

FOLLOWING the closing of the landmark Home Is Where the Art Is exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA in October 2021, Zeitz MOCAA announces the release of a commemorative publication titled Home Is Where the Art Is: Art Owned and Made by the People of Cape Town.

Amid dire early-pandemic conditions, the museum undertook a daring project with an open call to residents of the larger Cape Town metropolitan area that resulted in a non-juried, democratic celebration of art for, belonging to and created by the people of Cape Town. Zeitz MOCAA seized the moment to celebrate the lifeblood of its existence – people and art – and in October 2020, Home Is Where the Art Is opened as South Africa emerged from the enforced isolation of its first hard-hitting lockdown in response to COVID-19. 

The Home Is Where the Art Is publication officially launches at the 2022 Investec Cape Town Art Fair (ICTAF) at 12 noon on Saturday, 19 February 2022.

“With no hierarchy or selection, this exhibition was an opportunity for us to find out what art means to our audience and what a museum could stand for in current times. Home Is Where the Art Is marked a transformative shift in how Zeitz MOCAA engages with audiences and foregrounds the creativity and diversity of people in and around Cape Town,” says Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator at Zeitz MOCAA.

In addition to marking a pivotal moment in time for Capetonians, South Africans and the rest of the world, the exhibition was a significant signal of Zeitz MOCAA’s commitment to its vision and mission of positioning the institution as a civic space and an active agent that caters to and nurtures society.

“This role is important for several reasons, including the promotion of narratives that are integral to the building of communities,” says Storm Janse van Rensburg, Zeitz MOCAA Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial, who co-edited the book alongside independent arts writer and editor Alexandra Dodd.

“What could symbolise the spirit of community and the various ways in which we, as firstly Capetonians but also as South Africans, view the spaces we inhabit and how this changed during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions? This book aims to honour the emotions that underpinned the exhibition as well as record its place in the life histories of its participants and of Zeitz MOCAA as an institution.” 

The deluxe, full-colour volume records the making of and public responses to this boldly hospitable exhibition that comprised more than 2 000 artworks by children, emerging and established artists and photographers, hobbyists and crafters, as well as masterworks from private collections. The book also features specially commissioned essays by academic, writer and cultural theorist Ashraf Jamal and culture writer Neo Maditla. 

Like its exhibition counterpart, Home Is Where the Art Is, the book, has been curated into five thematic sections that give insight into the experience of lockdown: relations, the garden, outside, inside and time. Through imagery and text, each theme is explored in varied dimensions. 

“Home Is Where the Art Is asks what an ethics of care and future actions toward inclusion, reparation and creative democratic participation might look like when we reach beyond representation into another space of imagining,” adds Renée Holleman at artthrob.

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