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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.

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.

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.

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 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.


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).


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 was the latest artist to feature in The Vault. The series, Atlas is a Woman, investigates the psychic and physical weight that South African women carry on them. This series started over a year ago, when Cross’s 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.

Atlas is a Woman ran from December 2020 to May 2020 at The Vault. Download the catalogue and list of works below:

Catalogue (14.43 MB) List of Works (227.27 KB)