PHOTO ESSAY: Powerful Zeitz MOCAA exhibition depicts an Africa in which colonisation never happened
The internal cylinders of the Number 2 Silo at the Waterfront’s Silo District were artfully cut away to create a cascading arrangement of concentric circles. It’s breathtaking.
Journey up one of those cylinders in the tubular glass lifts to the fourth floor and you will arrive at a spectacular exhibition: Still Here Tomorrow to High Five You Yesterday.
The exhibition imagines a utopian or dystopian future Africa in which colonisation never happened.
The museum describes the collection of art: “It’s about afro-futures, seeking alternative physical spaces, allowing viewers to explore areas of imagination and ‘multiple simultaneous utopianisms’ that inhabit our worlds.”
It’s a trip. From the moment you step in, you’re confronted with a mythical representation of Africa - the flags of invented, fictional nations hang in pennants along a brass curtain rail across from a room that could double as a study on Africa 101 - the bare-bones basics anyone should know about African history. It’s comprehensive, but deliberately vague.
Another few steps in and you’ll find artistic portraits of dystopian fighters - an array of African Mad Max characters, if you will.
In one of the anterooms is a superb multi-media presentation, including sculpture, which features correspondence between government agencies regarding the Zambian manned mission to Mars.
The installation includes scientific drawings of a Zambian Mars exploration suit and newspaper clippings of the astronauts, as well as a request for “seven hundred million pounds” in additional funding addressed to the Zambian ministry of technology.
Imagining an Africa without the influences of Western colonisation is illustrated beautifully by the Adam and Eve installation in a Garden of Eden setting, as portraits of Jesus as a bald, black woman looking on arrest the viewer with their striking colours.
A little further on, Nelson Mandela smiles as he waves a Vulcan salute on the Instagram interface of a cellphone as a black Galactus presides over all manner of imagined comic book heroes and action comics scenes adorning a full wall.
The Amazing Black Man casts its neon shade over passers-by as they view The Fa bric of the Universe, weaving interconnectivity and technology into its hand-dyed, screen-printed canvas.
The exhibition is the first part of a series of imagined African futures.@LanceTheWitten