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The Vault

The Vault is The Silo Hotel’s small and exclusive art gallery located in the private parking entrance on basement level P3.

The concept behind The Vault was to make use of the unique space on our private parking level and to provide a link between the not-for-profit art featured in Zeitz MOCAA and the local galleries in Cape Town. Each year, The Silo Hotel works with a different local gallery to showcase two exhibitions annually in The Vault.

The purpose is to showcase established and up and coming African artists. The Silo Hotel will retain one piece from each exhibition thereby building up a collection that documents the evolution of our journey into the world of contemporary African art. Every 10 years we will print a beautiful coffee table book celebrating the 20 artists that were featured in The Vault as they form an integral part of The Silo’s history.

All of the art displayed in The Vault is for sale through the relevant gallery representing the artist.

Kate Gottgens

This first artist to be featured in The Vault on 1 March 2017 was Kate Gottgens. Born in Durban in 1965, Kate currently lives and works in Cape Town in Hout Bay.

The series displayed in The Vault was entitled The Meek, a beautifully curated series that explores the distortion of memories over time through the use of polaroid style imagery. The Meek also explores how in a modern social-media led society we are able to dip in and out of each other’s lives sometimes taking and interpreting only brief snapshots.

Mongezi Ncaphayi

From 26 November 2017 Mongezi Ncaphayi graced the walls of The Vault. Ncaphayi creates gestural works on paper by combining traditional printmaking techniques with painting and drawing methods. Ncaphayi’s paintings employ rich, dynamic, spreading expanses of light, colour and marked planes on paper. The work presents with a kind of boundless energy and limitless space that speaks to an artist bent on crafting cartography towards the profound. A proficient saxophonist, Ncaphayi incorporates the improvisational qualities of Jazz with a well-developed technical methodology, resulting in a unique abstract visual vocabulary. Functioning as “spiritual maps”, Ncaphayi considers his most recent bodies of work as a series of primary drawings in which he develops this visual language, refining a tonal palette that intuitively illustrates notions of spiritual reform, independent from formal religious perceptions.

Mongezi Ncaphayi was born in 1983 in Benoni on the East Rand, South Africa and currently lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

David Koloane

The third artist to be featured in The Vault was David Koloane. Born in Alexandra and later living in Soweto, Koloane spent his formative years immersed in the urban sprawl of Johannesburg’s largest townships. While the impact of the urban township environment has never left Koloane’s oeuvre and subject matter, his figurations of urban life attempt to represent both the tangible and intangible actualities of existence.

Koloane’s most recent works continue the artist’s aesthetic and artistic exploration into the conditions of the urban South African vernacular and its inner cityscapes. In so doing, he develops powerful and poignant social commentary on African life and individual experience within the cityscapes of Johannesburg. The city is represented using layers of mixed media and exaggerated brushwork to communicate the emotional workings of the artist in response to the anxieties faced within the metropolis. He draws on the dynamic energies and individual sensibilities faced when encountering hybrid residents and different environments.

Gerald Machona

Gerald Machona was the next artist to be featured in The Vault. Gerald Machona is a Zimbabwean born visual artist with a Master’s Degree in Fine Art in Sculpture from Rhodes University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Cape Town, completed at the Michaelis School of Fine Art.

Machona works with sculpture, performance, new media, photography and film, and the most notable aspect of his work is his innovative use of currency—particularly decommissioned Zimbabwean dollars—as an aesthetic material. Machona’s current work engages with issues of migration, transnationality, social interaction and xenophobia in South Africa, and explores the creative limits of visual art production through the use of decommissioned currency as a key medium.

Matthew Hindley

The next artist to be featured in The Vault was Matthew Hindley. Matthew graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town in 2002; where he was awarded the Michaelis Prize. As one of the countries’s most recognized younger painters, Hindley’s intense, poetic and delving artworks have featured in various critical and seminal South African exhibitions. Recent solo presentations have included An Everlasting Once at Brundyn + Gonsalves, Cape Town (2011) and Twilight of the Idols at Biksady, Budapest (2013).

Syndi Kahn

Using her own photographs as well as found imagery, Syndi Kahn captures a series of figures deeply engrossed in unfolding moments. In ‘A Dream No One Can See’ a girl waves a bright sparkler; in ‘Lost for Words’ a boy grasps something glowing indistinctly close to himself. It is not always clear what is happening in the scenes, but the introverted reverie of the narratives draws us into the pure, present moment.

Drawing on long-exposure and bokeh photography as inspiration, there is a sense of visible shift in the softly blurred lines of her painted portraits. This creates movement and ambiguity. Kahn refers in particular to Manhattan street photographer Saul Leiter as a photographic muse. In her own work we can see the same attentiveness paid to the quietly mundane that makes Leiter’s photographs memorable. Kahn also cites Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi and her lyrical but minimal imagery. Reviewing ‘Wondering’, we see Kahn focus on similarly ordinary yet serene reflections, which honour the importance of imagination and awe in the everyday.

Grace Cross

Atlas is a Woman by Grace Cross ran from December 2020 to May 2021 in The Vault. The series investigates the psychic and physical weight that South African women carry on them and started when Cross’s young daughter would only sleep when strapped tightly to her back. She began thinking about all the things that mother’s are expected to carry on them, historically and in this moment in feminist history.

Taking inspiration from the Greek mythos of Atlas, a titan who was condemned to hold up the celestial heavens for eternity on his shoulders, Cross’s painted female figures are similarly burdened. The bent-over women, carrying their loads of children, world globes and other symbolic artefacts on their backs, are symbols of endurance and strength in spite of the psychic and physical things they shoulder. In a society that asks too much of women, to carry it all, to strap it to your back and carry on, and to do it all. Cross offers this series as a celebration of the labour of love.

Grace Cross | Catalogue (14.43 MB)

Group Exhibition by Jana Terblanche

Introducing The Vault’s first group exhibition, This room glows in the dark while we are asleep, curated by Jana Terblanche that ran from 21 July 2021 to 20 August 2021. Jana is an independent art consultant with a strong focus on exhibition curation and art advisory. Exhibiting Artists: Shayna Arvan | Good Good Boy | Githan Coopoo | Water Dixon | Banele Khoza | Rosie Mudge | Yolanda Mazwana | Brett Charles Seiler | Bara Sketchbook.

This room glows in the dark while we are asleep explored the often tangled intricacies of love, longing and loneliness. It unpacked how these complex and intangible emotions can co-exist across a spectrum. In this group exhibition, the power of the human mind to create non-physical spaces for healing, comfort or escape is embraced. This collection of work is interested in how we cling to the potential for romance and love connections in times of isolation.

Group Exhibition | Catalogue (2.02 MB)

Nabeeha Mohamed

Nabeeha Mohamed was the next artist to feature in The Vault from 27 August 2021 to 5 January 2022. Brown Petal, a collection of oil paintings and watercolours, was birthed from experimentation and the simple pleasure of piecing together existing forms to conjure something new. Mohamed had spent a few weeks in the studio creating watercolours that somehow didn’t quite work. Torn between not wanting to lose the time spent and wishing to breathe new life into the compositions, she decided to cut them up to create fresh arrangements.

These works revel in their playfulness; a gentle reminder that sometimes the process of rearranging past failures makes space for new discoveries. Lounging sunglasses, golden heart lockets and fantastical floral bouquets sprouting from ceramic vessels are just some of the wonderful oddities that make up Nabeeha Mohamed’s latest collection of works. The scenes presented are at once fanciful, and personal as the objects depicted carry with them the intimacy of passed down heirlooms. The cut-out technique interrupts the scale and depth perception with some elements almost jumping off the picture plane, somewhat reminiscent of childhood pop-up books.

Nabeeha Mohamed | Catalogue (1.67 MB)

Greatest Hits Exhibition

The current show displayed in The Vault is the Greatest Hits Exhibition in collaboration with the Association for Visual Arts (AVA) Gallery and will be on display from 28 April 2022 – 2 January 2023.

Since 2008, the AVA Gallery has been curating and hosting a fixed-anchor exhibition called ‘Greatest Hits’ – the only exhibition on the calendar curated by the AVA Gallery director. This year, work was selected from last year’s graduate shows at Michaelis School of Fine Art and Ruth Prowse School of Art. Part of this exhibition is what is currently on view at The Vault.

Greatest Hits has emerged as a means of closing the chasm that exists for art students between tertiary education and professional exhibition exposure, and it serves as a launch pad of new talent for AVA Gallery audiences, too. It is the curator’s eye on art instead of the academic’s, selecting works on grounds of individual value and their rapport with other selected works. The end result is an exhibition that offers an overview of the local and broader discourses that run through art schools in the Western Cape at the moment.

Download the Catalogue and Price List below:

Greatest Hits Exhibition | Catalogue (1.75 MB) Greatest Hits Exhibition | Price List (65.40 KB)