Since launching in March, AC Hotel Cape Town already cemented itself as a major role player near the waterfront.
An active and ongoing effort is needed to grow the artistic essence that has become part of the area after the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz Mocaa) opened its doors.
To end September, the hotel presented its first African debut of the global thought leadership series, AC Unpacked, with an important panel discussion between local experts shaping the world of art and design in the Mother City and, by association, South Africa
The South African event is part of a global programme, which launched in New York City last year, and brings together mindful individuals from around the world to unpack global perspectives on ideas relating to travel, experience, and design.
“Roots and design” was the chosen topic of discussion in Cape Town, with a focused lens on the importance of fostering and supporting local artistic talent, while simultaneously bringing the burgeoning scene to the world stage.
This year, the Investec Cape Town Art Fair also drove that narrative – that we’re at the epicentre of a sort of artistic boom.
The AC Hotel talk was moderated by renowned local food artist and photographer Caro Jesse de Waal, with Mark Noble the developer for the V&A Waterfront and lead on the development of the Silo District, and Kelly Berman, head of communication of Southern Guild Gallery.
Their conversation unpacked the fine details that South Africa’s design and creative community obsess over and what allows them to live their purpose without disruption.
Noble is responsible for creating and leading the development of the Silo District at the V&A Waterfront, a massive mixed-use development in and around the historic grain silo, which is home to the Zeitz Mocaa.
Celebrated as the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world, Zeitz Mocaa is one of Cape Town’s premier cultural attractions.
Zeitz, in two years, has become a major voice on contemporary art – and seems to be constantly expanding on introducing and expanding the gospel of artists on the continent.
Last month, the museum opened the first exhibition for children, titled And So The Stories Ran Away, and is an innovative collaboration between the Michaelis School of Fine Art, the Ruth Prowse School of Art and the Nyanga Arts Development Centre.
The exhibition celebrates stories from Africa and has been created to engage the imaginations of children – inviting them into a multisensory, interactive experience with works of art.
“The title is inspired by a Nigerian Ekoi legend of how the character Mouse visits the houses of all people, gathering their stories and making it her own, as if like children,” says co-curator Liesl Hartman.
Installed in the tunnels on the museum’s lower ground level around the atrium bowl, And So The Stories Ran Away sees the creation of a fantasy world of strange and wondrous creatures, characters, and mysterious spaces.
At AC Hotel the panel also discussed how South African talent fits into the global creative landscape and where Cape Town and local artists, such as Southern Guild’s Stanislaw Trzebinski and William Kentridge, find themselves within the world of art, design and creative culture.
Topics touched on during the discussion included the development of the silo district. During the development of this precinct, numerous design elements were incorporated into the building to tell the local historical story.
n example is seen in the atrium space, which has been modelled off the shape of a grain of corn and speaks to the heritage of the building. This local approach is incredibly refreshing.