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Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project, a solo exhibition by Chilean-born and New York-based artist, Alfredo Jaar  is now open at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). The artist is known for his multidisciplinary practice that explores power relations and socio-political stratifications, as well as issues of migration and discrimination.

The exhibition includes a selection of work from Jaar’s six-year project that honours the more than 800 000 victims of the mass slaughter in the African country between April and July 1994. Countless others who survived the genocide were left scarred by the extreme violence they witnessed and experienced.

The artist’s project began in 1994 when Jaar, incensed by global indifference to the then recent genocide, travelled to Rwanda and surrounding countries, where he documented the stories of survivors of the tragedy.

Over the following six years, Jaar dug into the images, videos, and stories he captured, and began the work of formulating the exhibition which has shown in galleries and museums across the world. This, however, is the first time it will be on view on the African continent.

The exhibition seeks to investigate how outsiders can engage with the trauma of others. It simultaneously critiques the global community’s inaction to the atrocities that took place.

Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda 

Speaking on Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project, Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Zeitz MOCAA says: “The exhibition was originally scheduled for opening in April 2020 to coincide with the 26th commemoration of the genocide. Due to lockdown, this was not possible, so we are fortunate that museum visitors will still have the opportunity to view this important exhibition.

“Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project is an endeavour that implores us, as viewers, and as human beings, to consider our individual and collective responsibilities. How do we partake in the spectacles of violence, as passive observers and consumers through traditional and social media?

“Jaar’s cutting commentary towards the world’s muted response to these events at that time is palpable. As a critique of the act of looking and seeing, he translates and integrates images into experiences that attempt to highlight the complexity of trauma and the memory that extends beyond that captured within a visual.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public programmes. The exhibition is made possible with support from Goodman Gallery.

WHAT: Alfredo Jaar: The Rwanda Project
WHEN: 19 November 2020 – 23 May 2021
WHERE: Zeitz MOCAA, Level 2, Exhibition Galleries, Silo District, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 8001
INFO: Curators: Koyo Kouoh, Storm Janse Van Rensburg
Image caption:
Alfredo Jaar, Embrace, 1995, video, duration 1:00, dimensions variable.
Courtesy of Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg/Cape Town and the artist, New York.
Portrait of Alfredo Jaar. Courtesy of the artist, New York. Photograph by Esther Jee Eun Jang.