Renowned South African curator, artist, and educator Gabi Ngcobo Appointed Director of Kunstinstituut Melly

Gabi Ngcob

In a significant development for the international art world, Kunstinstituut Melly in Rotterdam has unveiled its choice for the next director. South African curator, artist, and educator Gabi Ngcobo will assume the directorship, effective from January 2024. Ngcobo’s appointment follows an open-call process and resonates with the museum’s practice of changing directors every six years. Her ascension to this position marks a pivotal moment as she steps into the role previously held by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy since 2018.

The selection committee was captivated by Ngcobo’s collaborative leadership style and her extensive managerial and curatorial knowledge. Annet Lekkerkerker, the chair of Kunstinstituut Melly’s supervisory board, expressed unwavering confidence in Ngcobo’s impact, stating, “We are convinced that Gabi Ngcobo’s experience and ideas will be of great significance to our institution in the coming years, as much as to the field of contemporary art in the Netherlands and abroad. We look forward to her arrival, and to warmly welcome her at Melly.”

Ngcobo’s journey to this esteemed role began with her curatorial directorship at South Africa’s Javett Art Centre, located at the University of Pretoria. Her acclaim as an independent curator became evident through her curatorship of prominent international events. Notably, she curated the Tenth Berlin Biennale in 2018 and played a pivotal co-curatorial role in the Thirty-Second São Paulo Biennale in 2016. Ngcobo’s recent curatorial endeavors include the 2022 exhibition “The Show Is Over” at the South London Gallery and the 2021 cocurated exhibition “The ‘T’ Is Silent” at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Deurle, Belgium.

Expressing her anticipation for her upcoming role, Ngcobo praised Kunstinstituut Melly as “an institution with a critical history; an institution that has had to face head-on challenging questions of our time.” Committed to working collaboratively with the institution’s team, Ngcobo underlined her dedication to maintaining a human-friendly, accountable, and future-oriented approach, ensuring that Kunstinstituut Melly continues to thrive as a space for artistic exploration and engagement.

As Ngcobo’s directorship awaits in the near future, the global art community awaits her transformative influence on Kunstinstituut Melly’s trajectory and her enduring impact on the contemporary art world.

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