In keeping with its longstanding tradition of incorporating art into the fabric of its identity, advertising agency M&C Saatchi Abel has cemented a close affiliation with Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), which is a public not-for-profit cultural institution. Zeitz MOCAA was established in 2013 through a partnership between the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz.
In September 2017, Zeitz MOCAA will open in the transformed heritage listed Grain Silo building, repurposed through a design by Thomas Heatherwick, in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. In addition to being appointed their pro bono agency, M&C Saatchi Abel has endowed a permanent photography gallery – the M&C Saatchi Abel Gallery – within the Zeitz MOCAA.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Zeitz MOCAA, which is the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art,” says Mike Abel, founding partner and chief executive of the M&C Saatchi Abel Group of companies. “When the opportunity arose to sponsor a gallery at Zeitz MOCAA, we recognized it as a natural extension for our commitment to South African and African art.”
Indeed, the Saatchi brand is synonymous with an ardent love of art – the original founder, Charles Saatchi, opened his eponymous London gallery in 1985 to exhibit his vast personal collection to the public.
Locally, M&C Saatchi Abel’s newly built Johannesburg office takes its design cue from African art and culture. The agency’s core belief in the role of art as integral to inspiring, challenging and building creative and original thought is reflected in the gallery-like reception areas and then filtered through the remaining three storeys. The Cape Town agency similarly has a wonderful collection of prized contemporary art.
Works by the likes of Mohau Modisakeng, Cyrus Kabiru, Cameron Platter, Zander Blom, Sam Nhlengethwa, Kudzanai Chiurai, Christiaan Conradie, Jody Paulsen and Julia Rosa Clark reveal the agency’s support and passion for South African art and upcoming artists like Pierre Vermeulen and Ruby Swinney.
“The fundamental mission of Zeitz MOCAA, which is to collect, preserve, research and exhibit cutting edge contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora, is perfectly aligned with our own mission as an agency – which is to develop and support art, creativity and culture in South Africa and beyond its borders,” adds Abel. “With our sponsorship of a photography gallery as well as through working with Zeitz MOCAA as their communications and advertising partner, we hope to assist in establishing this iconic and important institution in the years to come.”