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Creative Feel / August 2015 / 1
CHARLIE BRAVO #361-13
Congratulations to the Barclays Lâ€™Atelier finalists 2015
Just Voices reative Feel has always followed the long
claim the ultimate prize and that brings me back to breaking
established golden media rule ‘do not get involved
the golden rule in media – about race issues, never stereotype!
in issues of religion or race.’ Why? Simply because
Looking at these young vocalists, it is difficult to see who is
neither religion nor race is an issue. Not within the team,
singing what at the nights of the competition. Do have a look
we are a motley crowd of all ages, colours and cultures.
here and then turn to page 22 for an answer. Surprised? I bet
The content of the magazine is about creativity, about
as surprised and pleased as I was. There is no such thing as
different art forms, art platforms and great artists – again
‘Western Classical Music’ in South Africa, there is just great
of all ages, colours and cultures.
music and great singers in different genres. (Perhaps it is time
But today I would like to break this rule and comment on the race issue! What a long way the art scene in South Africa
to find a new name for Western Art (‘classical’) music?) Talking about great voices, congratulations to UCT and
has come! Looking at the pages of this issue one can only agree
Cape Town Opera once again. Our very own opera singer
that there is simply no more time for stereotyping our artists.
Levy Sekgapane, a UCT Opera School student, won the 2015
The SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition rotates
international Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.
between instrumentalists, singers, keyboard players and
The competition, known as THE ‘springboard’ for a career
composers over a four-year cycle. Since 1962, SAMRO has
in opera drew 1 314 participants from all over the world.
awarded over 60 of these scholarships, which have helped
Levy Sekgapane, won the overall first prize but three other
boost the careers of many young professional musicians and
South African opera singers also reached the final stage of
composers, many had already honed their musical prowess
the competition, Noluvuyiso Mpofu, Lukhanyo Moyake and
as professional performers when winning the competition.
The Scholarships, one for Western Art music and one
South African opera sensation Pretty Yende won this
for Jazz/Popular music, are for applicants who have already
competition in 2009 and currently has an international
obtained a degree or equivalent diploma in music, or who are
career with engagements at the most renowned opera
in their final year of such degree or equivalent diploma.
houses in the world.
In August, twelve talented South African finalists, six
Opera in South Africa is taking the world by storm; with
in Western Art (‘classical’) music and six in Jazz, will sing
our natural talent and amazing voices it’s no surprise and
live and compete during the Foundation’s annual Overseas
certainly leaves no room for stereotyping!
Scholarships Competition. One singer in each category will
CHARLIE BRAVO #361-13
OF SOUTH AFRICA THE VIBRANT HEART
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Buskaid was founded in 1997 to provide all township children with the opportunity to channel their creative drive into learning and playing classical music to the highest international standards. The Buskaid Ensemble has an enviable reputation, having performed before two former South African presidents, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and senior members of the Royal Family, and the First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama.
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5102 yluJ - )TAV .lcni( 09,63R AS
A MAESTRO IN THE MAKING.
Redefine Properties is a proud sponsor of Buskaid and shares its vision and objectives. We wish them many encores.
‘YOU GET WHAT GET WHAT YOU GIVE’ ‘YOU YOU GIVE’ @ @
A MAESTRO IN THE MAKING. Buskaid was founded in 1997 to provide all township children with the opportunity to channel their creative drive into learning and playing classical music to the highest international standards. The Buskaid Ensemble has an enviable reputation, having performed before two former South African presidents, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and senior members of the Royal Family, and the First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama.
Redefine Properties is a proud sponsor of Buskaid and shares its vision and objectives. We wish them many encores.
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CHARLIE BRAVO #361-13
CHARLIE BRAVO #361-13
A MAESTRO IN THE MAKING. Buskaid was founded in 1997 to provide all township children with the opportunity to channel their creative drive into learning and playing classical music to the highest international standards. The Buskaid Ensemble has an enviable reputation, having performed before two former South African presidents, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and senior members of the Royal Family, and the First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama.
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PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lore Watterson; firstname.lastname@example.org COPUBLISHER & PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Chris Watterson; email@example.com DEPUTY EDITOR Tamaryn Greer; firstname.lastname@example.org FEATURES EDITOR Natalie Watermeyer; email@example.com SALES AND MARKETING EXECUTIVES firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Mariapaola McGurk; firstname.lastname@example.org SPECIAL PROJECTS Fiona Gordon; email@example.com DESIGN Mxolisi Gumbi; firstname.lastname@example.org FINANCIAL DIRECTOR Debbi Gregory; email@example.com RECEPTION Angelina Ramano DISPATCH Khumbulani Dube SUBSCRIPTION & CIRCULATION Debbi Gregory; firstname.lastname@example.org Published by DeskLink™ Media PO Box 3670, Randburg, 2125 Tel: 011 787 0252 Fax: 011 787 8204 www.creativefeel.co.za www.desklink.co.za
Colbert Mashile, Goja Gago Jelwe. Charcoal, Ink and Pastel on Paper. 107 x 80cm. This particular work by Mashile was exhibited alongside work by other emerging artists by CIRCA at the Turbine Art Fair in July.
8 / Creative Feel / August 2015
PRINTING ColorPress (Pty) Ltd © Copyright DeskLink™ Media The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. CONTRIBUTORS: Nondumiso Msimanga; email@example.com Ismail Mahomed; firstname.lastname@example.org Michelle Constant; email@example.com Indra Wussow; firstname.lastname@example.org
LIBERTY IN PARIS
Creative Feel caught up with Liberty Battson, winner
of last year’s Barclays L’Atelier competition,
mid-way through her six month stay in Paris.
YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE
THE AMPERSAND FOUNDATION
Creative Feel’s Nondumiso Msimanga spoke to Jaco
An important Barclays L’Atelier merit award is
van Schalkwyk, the first L’Atelier Merit Award winner
a one-month residency in New York City at the
to receive a residency from kunst:raum sylt quelle.
Ampersand Foundation. This award differs from
other residencies in that the artist is not required to
work and produce a new volume of art inspired by
the changed environment.
Jaco van Schalkwyk and Stephan Erasmus | HRM 2011⁄04⁄04, 2014⁄04⁄17 | Mixed Media Installation | 2100 X 4700 X 3400 MM | 2015
arts and culture 22
SAMRO OVERSEAS SCHOLARSHIPS COMPETITION FOR SINGERS 2015
Blessed with voices that soar with jazzy richness
or operatic timbre, twelve young singers are
‘It’s an interesting time to be young in South
Africa,’ says 24-year-old artist Luyanda Zindela.
gearing up to vie for the two lucrative overseas
Zindela is a recipient of the L’Atelier Merit Award
scholarships offered by the SAMRO Foundation
2014 that sees a worthy artist on a residency with
the Ampersand Foundation in New York.
TRACING THE HISTORICAL
As part of the season that will open the newly
Printmaker, award-winning visual artist, Ampersand
refurbished Laager Theatre, the Market Theatre is
Fellow and the Arts & Culture Trust’s ImpACT
producing Barney Simon’s Cincinnati.
Award winner for 2015, Bevan de Wet spoke to
Creative Feel’s Nondumiso Msimanga about the
origins of his art.
With 30 years now to its credit, the Barclays L’Atelier
has an established history of broadening young
Jenny Nijenhuis only began exhibiting her work in
2012 at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg. She was
10 / Creative Feel / August 2015
shortlisted for the Top 3 Lizamore Mentorship the
following year and is premiering her first solo
exhibition at Lizamore this year.
FOLLOWING A NEW BEAT
Unathi Malunga rediscovers an old love in a
transition that will see her break new ground as one
of the countryâ€™s first black woman conductors
JAZZ IN THE SPRINGTIME
September heralds the arrival of two great pleasures
in Johannesburg: the much anticipated warm lift
of spring, and the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival,
which brings plenty of songbirds flying in to
perform at the Sandton Convention Centre between
September 24 and 26.
lifestyle and entertainment 68 69 70
BOOK REVIEWS CD & DVD REVIEWS CINEMA NOUVEAU
ARTLOOKS & ARTLINES
Artlooks & Artlines is a monthly column
by Ismail Mahomed, Artistic Director of the
National Arts Festival.
THE LAST ATTITUDE
BUSINESS & ARTS
A collaboration between Nelisiwe Xaba and Mamela
Business and Arts is a monthly column by
Nyamza (or Nelma) saw the two talented dancer/
Michelle Constant, CEO of Business and Arts
choreographers take to the National Arts Festival
South Africa (BASA).
stage in Grahamstown recently in a piece that, true
to form, challenged, questioned and subverted.
Literary Landscapes is a monthly column written
by Indra Wussow, a writer, translator and director of
the Sylt Foundation.
A full-service destination spa is the latest addition
to Johannesburgâ€™s most iconic hotel, Four Seasons
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 11
CASTADIVA Boutique Hotel
Art, tranquillity and elegance
he beautifully serene Casta Diva Boutique Hotel, on the northern slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain range in Pretoria, is a place to escape the madness of the everyday
busy world. The Magaliesberg mountain range was recently declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The announcement was made in Paris by the International Coordinating Council of the Programme on Man and the Biosphere in June this year and the Magaliesberg now joins the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. As Casta Diva is situated on this magnificent mountain range, it is the perfect getaway for the bird-watching tourist. Almost half of the total bird species of Southern Africa can be spotted on this mountain range.
A unique venue, nestled high on the Northern slopes of the Magaliesberg amidst peaceful and tranquil surroundings that offer stunning views and an unsurpassed setting of natural beauty and elegance in an oasis of peace and serenity in the city.
The Boutique Hotel also offers her guests an on-site restaurant where they can enjoy a culinary experience second to none. Charisma Restaurant offers á la carte menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner and often also hosts classical concerts, such as the concert guests can attend on 23 August 2015 – The Three B’s: Lost and Transcribed. This concert will showcase the talents of Thomas de Bruin on flute and Lara Kirsten with poetry and piano. Tickets will sell at
Guaranteed the true Decadent, Divine, Delightful fine dining experience, the perfect fusion between the magic of Casta Diva, fresh ingredients, a dedicated culinary team and the friendliest service of South Africa.
R100 per person, and the concert will start at 15:00, providing a lovely Sunday afternoon event. The cultural support does not stop here, as they also have an on-site intimate theatre and art gallery – Casta Diva’s Vissi d’Arte. Here they host up-and-coming, local talent at no cost. The non-profit venue will be hosting a charity event in collaboration with the Black Orchid Burlesque Troupe situated in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The event will take place on Saturday 1 August at 20:00 and all door proceeds will be donated to charity. The Grand Exhibition is a new concept that aims to bring burlesque dancers and lovers of burlesque around the world together, to raise funds for a variety of charities globally. Guests can book their tickets on-line and do something great, while still having a whale of a time. [www.facebook.com/internationalburlesquebenefit] On 8 August 2015, guests can reserve tickets to enjoy the talents of Irit Noble at the beautiful little theatre. With her cabaret We Will Survive, Noble promises to bring a medley of well-known, feel good songs designed to put a smile and perhaps even a grin on everyone’s faces. Guests have the option of reserving a set, three-course dinner
at R250 per person to enjoy in the Charisma Restaurant before the
show. Dinner service will start at 18:00, and the performance will
start at 20:00 in the Theatre. Show tickets will be sold at R80 per
Restaurant Theatre Art Gallery
person, and as seats are limited guests are advised to reserve as soon as possible. Contact Casta Diva on 012 542 4449 or email@example.com. You could also visit their Facebook pages to stay updated on future events: Casta Diva, The Place To; Casta Diva’s Charisma and Casta
67 Albatros Street, Ninapark, Pretoria Tel: 012 542 4449 | Fax: 012 542 3085 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.castadiva.co.za
Diva’s Vissi d’Arte. Visit their website at www.castadiva.co.za and reserve a room now to spoil yourself to a retreat in the city. Casta Diva, the place to relax and just… be. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 13
The Mahhotella Queens
The Playhouse honours women in August August is Women’s Month and there’s no better way to honour the struggles, sacrifices and successes of women than to feast on the fine drama, dance, dialogue, music and entertainment on offer at the annual Playhouse Company’s SA Women’s Festival (SAWAF) in Durban, from 14 to 22 August.
his year’s festival takes on added significance as
children’s theatre and panel discussions, and you have
2015 has been named the African Union’s year
a festival that caters for a wide variety of tastes and all
of women empowerment and The Playhouse
members of the family.
Company is proud to play its own critical role in
‘The festival will focus very sharply and purposefully
the whole campaign. Playhouse CEO and Artistic Director,
on the issues that impact on the advancement and
Linda Bukhosini says she is excited about the eclectic mix at
empowerment of women, and the role women continue to
SAWAF this year.
play in our new democracy.’
‘Audiences will be inspired and entertained by a host of powerful, award-winning stage productions, some of which have enjoyed critical and phenomenal acclaim both here and abroad. ‘Add to this mix a mouth-watering programme of dance,
The line up will run from 14 to 22 August at the Playhouse, and includes the following highlights: A Woman in Waiting, by Thembi Mtshali, is a powerful biographical journey into the dark heart of what life was like for women in apartheid South Africa. Directed by
dramas, a gala concert featuring some of the biggest names
Standard Bank Young Artist, Yaël Farber, the show uses
in the music business, slam poetry, musical entertainment,
visual imagery, song, chanting and evocative action to
14 / Creative Feel / August 2015
relate an emotive and compelling story that is so much a part of the fabric of our history. Coming straight from a highly successful run in New York, where the play featured in the First International Folksbiene Yiddish Festival in June, Santa’s Story is a moving, one woman show depicting Santa Pelham’s journey of courage, inspiration and hope. The story is enacted by her daughter, award-winning singer Aviva Pelham who has distinguished herself in several starring roles in opera, operetta, musicals and concerts both locally as well as in London, Paris and Israel. Yet another must-see is Fishers of Hope, a relatively new South African play by multi-award winning writer/director Lara Foot, which explores the meaning of hope in the African continent. This received rave reviews in the media when performed in Cape Town; one critic hailed it as a production ‘that sets a precedent to local theatre which will be hard to match.’ This is traditional African storytelling at its best, mixed with dance, music and video projections. In addition to an exhilarating theatrical line up, the SAWAF also features events such as the Intergenerational Dialogue with Leeanda Reddy, Lliane Loots, Estelle Sinkins and Lebo Mashile as the facilitator. This dialogue will deliberate on the topic ‘glamorising the performing
arts’, considering such themes as the responsibility of artists versus the celebrity fad, and why sexual violence and violence against women and girls is so prevalent on stage, television and film. Music lovers who attend the Gala Concert are in for a special treat. This features an orchestra comprised predominantly of women, with a full female choir, Maskandi and Umbaqanga. The line-up includes some of the country’s finest musical talent, including Thandiswa Mazwai, Mahotella Queens, Sally Silver, Xolisa Dlamini, Vumile Mngoma and Khanyo Maphumulo. During the Open Mic and Slam Poetry session with Thuli Zuma and Bongani Mavuso, winning Slam Poets from the Playhouse – including a selection of poets who entered the Open Mic section – will be given an opportunity to share their stories through the art of poetry, covering a wide range of contemporary issues. This event will include a Sundowner concert with Lucia Mthiyane and Khanyo Maphumulo. Workshops on parenting, and a panel discussion on Men Standing against Violence on Women will educate and raise awareness, while a Theatre Day for Children will keep little ones occupied with activities like drumming, mask-making, face painting and dancing. The High Tea for all women in the arts is another event not to be missed, with the Playhouse CEO and Artistic Director Linda Bukhosini as facilitator, and Michelle Constant, CEO of Business and Arts South Africa, as the key note speaker. For more information about this festival visit www.playhousecompany.com or go to their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DurbanPlayhouse. The Festival hotline number is 031 369 9456 CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 15
The Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble at the Linder, August 2015
his year’s Buskaid Ensemble concert at the Linder Auditorium will feature Buskaid’s customary lineup of exciting talented young soloists, including
Simiso Radebe, Kabelo Monnathebe, Cecelia Manyama and former Buskaid member Teboho Semela. The 30-strong Ensemble will present a programme of varied content, including music from Rameau’s opera Zaïs, Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and Impromptu for String Orchestra by Jean Sibelius, as well as classic pop songs and some ravishing film scores. Expect new, original Kwela and Gospel arrangements for an upbeat ending to an inspiring and uplifting night out! Saturday August 15th at 19:30 The Linder Auditorium, Wits Campus Tickets are available from Computicket: R200, R170, R140, R110. CF
Lise Davidsen, Levy Sekgapane and Ki Hun Park. Photograph by Paul van Wijngaarden
South African opera singer Levy Sekgapane wins international singing competition in Amsterdam
oluvuyiso Mpofu, Lukhanyo Moyake, Caroline Modiba and Levy Sekgapane, four South African opera singers, reached the final stage of the 34th
International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The competition, known as THE ‘springboard’ for a career in opera drew 1 314 participants from all over the world. The finals took place this past weekend and Levy Sekgapane, a UCT Opera School student, not only won the overall first prize but also walked away with four more special prizes. Sekgapane was a student at Stellenberg High School in Cape Town’s northern suburbs and went onto opera studies at the University of Cape Town Opera school, where he studied under Hanna van Niekerk. South African opera sensation Pretty Yende won this competition in 2009 and currently has an international career with engagements at the most renowned opera houses in the world. Opera in South Africa is taking the world by storm; with our natural talent and amazing voices it’s no surprise.
© Graham De Lacey
16 / Creative Feel / August 2015
The 35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition will be held in Cape Town in July 2016. CF
Pretty Yende returns to Starlight Classics Headlined by two phenomenal stars of international classical music, this year’s annual Starlight Classics presents an unrivalled opportunity to experience top musical talent.
n a coup for Starlight Classics, South Africa’s very own international opera star, Pretty Yende will take to the stage at Country Club Johannesburg on 5 September,
alongside violin virtuoso and GRAMMY Award-winning artist, Joshua Bell. Yende and Bell will perform under the baton of Richard Cock and director Darren Hayward. In 2012, Yende sang the role of Musetta in Puccini’s opera La bohème at La Scala in Milan, before making her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York City in January 2013, as Adèle in Rossini’s opera Le comte Ory. Bell first appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra aged 14. He debuted at Carnegie Hall three years later, and has since performed with the world’s major orchestras and conductors. This enchanted evening also presents local stars Vusi Mahlasela, Chris Chameleon, and Bokani Dyer, accompanied by the full Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, members of the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company and the vibrant Mzansi Youth Choir, along with the internationally acclaimed Vuyani Dance Theatre. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 17
Artlooks & Artlines Artlooks and Artlines is a monthly column written by Ismail Mahomed, Artistic Director of the National Arts Festival.
A Season Of Revivals… Cause for Concern or a Celebration of Timelessness?
Thando Mnumzana and Mosili Makuta perform in Sue Pam-Grant’s play Curl Up and Dye. Photograph: CuePix/Jane Berg
Craig Morris performs in Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Photograph: CuePix/Kate Janse van Rensburg
People are Living There. Photograph: CuePix/Ruan Scheepers
as this year’s National Arts Festival proven
to change, the colourful characters in the play echoed the
that South African theatre scripts will survive
voices of women in South Africa about identity, tradition
the test of time? While there was no shortage
and gender. Sue Pam Grant’s play is as relevant today as it
of new, exciting and innovative work that
was when the first splash of shampoo was poured when the
premiered across the Festival’s Main and Fringe stages, there were several plays from the eighties that were revived by a younger generation of artists.
play originally premiered. Rising star director Khutjo Green revived Gcina Mhlope’s ode to grandmothers in Have You Seen Zandile.
Leading the pack was the Baxter Theatre’s revival of
Built on Gcina Mhlope’s memories, the enchanting play
Barney Simon’s iconic play Born in the RSA. The production
is a beautiful and emotional journey of Zandile and her
provided a poignant glimpse of political activism in South
grandmother. Scripted jointly by Mhlope, Thembi Mtshali
Africa during the State of Emergency. The young cast,
and Maralin van Renen, the play seemed to have resonated
many who may have been children in those years, were put
with all ages.
through their paces by Thoko Ntshinga, a formidably strong
Another rising star director is Jade Bowers. After
actress who performed in the original production when it
scooping accolades for her 2014 production of Rehane
premiered at the Market Theatre.
Abrahams’s What the Water gave me, this year she revived
Sue Pam Grant’s robust text Curl Up & Dye was
Neil Coppen’s Tin Bucket Drum. Once again, she scooped a
revived by Karabelo Lekalake. His production company
Standard Bank Fringe Ovation Award to show her prowess
is appropriately named Flipping the Scripts Productions.
as a director who has to be taken seriously.
Set in a hairdressing salon during a time when racial demographics in Johannesburg’s inner city were beginning
18 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Two of Maishe Maponya’s plays were revived. Moses Lechuti revived Maponya’s play Jika. He was able to
Goitseman Pholo in Jika at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Photograph: CuePix/Jeff Stretton-Bell.
Vakalisi Madotyeni plays Zacharia Melani in the Baxter Theatre’s Born in the RSA in Grhamstown. Photograph: CuePix/Jeff Stretton-Bell
Mpilo Nzimande performs in Woza Albert at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Photograph: CuePix/Kate Janse van Rensburg
capture every nuance of Maponya’s critical consciousness
that there are many similarities to the eighties with regard to
of the earlier decades; and yet at the same allow the
mirror to reflect the current frustrations about poverty
Celebrated South African actor Lionel Newton revived
and squalor which still prevail in many townships.
Paul Slabolepzy’s The Return of Elvis du Pisane. Arts and
Maponya’s Umongikazi/The Nurse was revived by
theatre critic Robyn Sassen wrote that Slabolepzy’s play
Goitsemang Pholo. The powerful play about conditions
‘is one of those South African classics that doesn’t seem to
in public hospitals is as relevant today as it was when the
date.’ She is absolutely right!
play was originally staged. Even an Athol Fugard script could not escape from the
Craig Morris directed by Roslyn Wood-Morris won huge accolades for his performance in Greig Coetzee’s play Johnny
hands of a young director this year. Blythe Stuart Linger
Boskak is Feeling Funny. Coetzee’s play explores where white
adapted his production from Fugard’s People Are Living
trash like Johnny Boskak fits in the new South Africa. The
There, while university academic Peter Mitchell directed
revival of this play was one of three productions that won a
his young cast to present The Island, a classic South African
Standard Bank Gold Ovation Award at this year’s Festival.
play that balances hope and despair as it exposes the depths
Amongst the extensive offerings of new plays at this year’s
of cruelty and inhumanity while affirming the dignity and
Festival, does the revival of these plays mean that young
courage of the human spirit. The Island was written jointly
theatre directors are reflecting a concern that much of the
by Fugard with John Kani and Winston Ntshona.
things that playwrights wrote about in the eighties are still
Mitchell’s young students also revived the classic South
very much the same as our current realities? Or, is it just a
African play Woza Albert, which asks what would happen if
case of South African writers whose scripts are timeless being
Jesus Christ (Morena) came back to apartheid South Africa
finally honoured by a generation that looks back at those
in the eighties. It might be unsurprising if Morena found
writers and are able to absorb the same Creative Feel? CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 19
Business & Arts Business and Arts is a monthly column by Michelle Constant, CEO of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).
n another lifetime I thought I wanted to be an actress.
a waitron whilst she waits for the winning audition, feels
I studied at UCT Drama School, I improvised, breathed
uncomfortable owning the job of actress, if she is serving
deeply, squeezed tears from my eyes, and raged at the
cajun kingklip at a table.
appropriate moment. I turned stage left when directed,
It’s as the notorious performer Amanda Palmer says;
walked off into the wings backwards when required, and
‘People working in the arts engage in street combat with
acted in dodgy self-written plays called The Dogs. Then came
The Fraud Police on a daily basis, because much of our work
the professional years in Johannesburg, success called with
is new and not readily or conventionally categorised. When
a cabaret called The Pervettes (many thanks to my co-stars,
you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the
Irit Noble and Lesley Rochat). But acting in a children’s TV
magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head
series as a pink fairy, or in a super dodgy American horror
with your own handmade wand. And you feel stupid doing it.
film demonstrated what some of us would do just to work.
There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might
It soon became quite clear to me, that perhaps acting was
think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting
not to be; the auditioning, the coming close but ‘no cigar’
published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit,
drove my A-type personality insane. I needed to ‘work’ and
and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you
acting just wasn’t going to cut it. In retrospect I think the
are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else
challenge lay deep within the challenge of ‘being’ an artist.
experience or feel something deep or unexpected.’
Our Calvinist upbringing has led us to think that only when we are working, can we own the job. So an actress who is
The dancers of The Dog Days Are Over perform in the South African premiere of their production at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Picture by Mia van der Merwe (CuePix)
20 / Creative Feel / August 2015
It was at the National Arts Festival this year that I had both deep and unexpected experiences – experiences
Jennifer Steyn performs as Nora Helmer and Rob van Vuuren as Nils Krogstad in A Doll’s House at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Picture by Mia van der Merwe (CuePix)
that offered such insight, that I also understand now why
appears.’ And so we saw eight dancers jump. For an hour and
I prefer to be the audience, rather than the performer,
ten minutes. Part dance as sport, part dance as voyeurism
that I understand how tough it is to truly be an artist
– the truth will out, and yes, we saw the real person behind
– and a good one. The Standard Bank Young Artist for
the mask. In this production, the real person was heaving,
Theatre, Christiaan Olwagen’s direction of an ‘adaptation’
sweating; at times pain etched it’s way across faces, at others
of the Norwegian Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was
the dancers seemed to move into a zen-like trance. It was
riveting. The play tears at the fabric we are told is family,
dance as I had never seen it.
highlighting the difficult pacts that we choose to make
It was with this in mind, that I started to think about
in a society based on money and power. A superb cast,
the creatives in our world, about what it takes, how deep
an astoundingly gorgeous soundtrack and great storyline
an artist must dig for the strength, the emotion, the
proved once again, the power of the arts to tell our
power to make us feel, to make us question, indeed to
stories over time. Indeed a play that premiered in 1879 in
understand why and how #artmovesme. But if art is a form
Copenhagen holds sway in Johannesburg, circa 2015, just
of truth, as JF Kennedy once said, then ‘In free society
as easily. But that ease is underpinned by a massive depth
art… does not belong to the spheres of polemic and
of creative skill and honesty.
ideology… the highest duty of the writer, the composer,
In an interview with me, Olwagen spoke of both the
the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips
play’s protagonist Nora, and his own need as a director
fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth,
and artist, to find true authenticity, to identify one’s own
the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which
real self – an inner self that should find voice above the
disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert
noise of society. It was this drive to find authenticity that
Frost’s hired man, the fate of having “nothing to look
could be seen in the Flemish dance performance of The Dog
backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to
Days are Over. According to choreographer Jan Martens,
the inspiration for the piece came from the 1958 quote by
It is with this in mind that we should engage, support
American photographer Phillipe Halsman, ‘When you ask
and argue again, again and again for the space for
a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed towards
creativity. The artist’s right to his or her truth, becomes the
the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person
opportunity for us to find our own. CF
Anthea Thompson as Kristine Linde and Jennifer Steyn as Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Picture by Mia van der Merwe (CuePix)
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 21
Literary Landscapes Literary Landscapes is a monthly column by Indra Wussow, a writer, translator and director of the Sylt Foundation.
I was travelling to Bayreuth this June to attend the annual conference of the ALA (the African Literature Association) to meet literary scholars, cultural scientists, linguists and writers from all over the world to discuss the state of African literature and its future. This conference is held in Europe for the first time this year and will travel to
Franschhoek in 2016. I wondered what the 400 delegates and writers would
rriving in Bayreuth in summer is a bucolic
think about the fact that of all places, they landed in the
pleasure. The train ride from Nurnberg to the
city in which Richard Wagner composed the ‘soundtrack’
very North east of Bavaria leads you along
for the latter Third Reich and which was also the chosen
lovely forested hills dotted with tiny old villages
home of the infamous Houston Stewart Chamberlain,
through the enchanting valley of the small Pegnitz River. Bayreuth is a small city with only 72 000 inhabitants, yet
a notorious propagandist of racism and anti-Semitism. In the opening speech of the conference we learn that a
unlike many other places in Germany it is still very much
street was named after the Englishman and only changed
perceived as a major site of the Third Reich despite having
name as late as in 1989. Chamberlain, with his books like
been blooming over the centuries. Bayreuth seems the
The Arian World View (1905), contributed enormously to
epitome of the difficult process of historical revision that
paving the way for the racial fanaticism of the Nazis. none
post war Germany has been grappling with.
other than the infamous Adolf Hitler himself attended
Before reunification in 1990, Bayreuth was situated in
Chamberlain’s funeral in 1927. Hitler loved Bayreuth: his
what was called the Zonenrandgebiet (border zone), near the
appreciation for Wagnerian music and his close affiliation
border to East Germany. This status allowed this remote
to the Wagner family and the Nazi appropriation of the
region to obtain economic subsidies and was also a reason to
Wagner Festival on the ‘Green Hill’ are still a sore point in
open the University of Bayreuth in 1972.
Bayreuth’s troubled history.
This provincial university would not be of any major
On the last day of this long and diverse conference,
global interest if its faculty of African studies were not
the writer Teju Cole said smilingly that Germany would
among the top institutions of its kind in the world. The
completely overstimulate him. ‘This is an incredibly
emphasis on African Studies came with a highly acclaimed
stimulating and discursive space. One cannot throw a stone
post-graduate programme for African students and in 1981
without hitting a piece of history.’ What a wonderful ironic
the opening of the bustling Iwalewa House, with its aim to
volte that is; Cole is referring to a famous quote of Lord
introduce a broader public to non-European art.
Salisbury’s, and therewith brings the debate about post
Since then artists-in-residence and curators have been
colonialism and its impacts straight into this little Bavarian
invited from all over Africa and the Diaspora to spend some
city with its overabundant kaleidoscope of historical and
time in Bayreuth to work and reflect. Art shows have been
cultural achievements and transgressions.
focused on all traditional, modern and post-modern aspects
Since 2013, Iwalewa House has been selecting one
of African art, and interdisciplinary art projects with artists
African writer and journalist to become the Bayreuth City
from Europe have been initiated.
Writer for the year. The City Writer lives in the city for two
22 / Creative Feel / August 2015
months and blogs and engages with the local people. The
City Writer to explore the contradictions and wrongdoings of
second City Writer is the Ugandan writer Moses Serubiri,
history and their legacies today. He will write about it in the
who is investigating the city with his very own wonderfully
bold, creative and shrewd observations. His reflections of
It is exciting that many Bayreuth people and also
his temporary home are not only shared in his blog but also
some tourists engage in this dialogue. It is through the
published in the local newspaper, through which he also
extraordinary work of the Africanists at university and the
reaches a local audience.
courageous creators of the Iwalewa House that Bayreuth is
During the conference there is a reading and discussion
changing its attitude and is surely also changing its living
with Moses Serubiri and it is exciting to see that not only the
museum into something more international and discursive.
delegates, but also locals flock to listen attentively to what
All the students, post graduates, artists and curators from
he has to write and say about their city.
Africa have long since been changing Bayreuth forever.
And it is the overstimulation Teju Cole talked about, that
Meanwhile one can be sure that most Bayreuthians know
Serubiri is so much aware of. ‘Wherever I go there is a vast
more about African arts and literature than many people in
history with all its contradictions. This place is a museum
the big cities and so the world moves a bit closer together,
and what strikes most is that it happens as an intended
on equal terms. This is a good reason to hold a conference
on African literatures in this remote little city in Germany.
This museum-fication does not come unbiased, and
Next month I will talk about the topics and discussions of
one wonders if this is due to offering tourists what they
the conference and how mobile literature should revolutionise
are thought to expect in visiting Bayreuth: Wagner,
reading patterns and the availability of literature in future. CF
Wagner and a bit of Romanticist writer Jean Paul. But maybe it is a completely careless look into the difficult history of a city that put only a small, almost invisible
Cedric Nunn’s photographic show Unsettled – 100 Years
Stolperstein (stumbling block) where once a branch of the
of War is being exhibited at the Iwalewa House in 2016. A
Nazi concentration camp of Flossenburg stood. Historical
German edition of a book of this important project Unsettled
reappraisal looks somewhat different.
– 100 Jahre weisse Landnahme und die Folgen is published
Moses Serubiri obviously visited the ‘Mohrenapotheke’
at AfrikAWunderhorn and was launched in Bayreuth on the
that still attracts customers with a sign of a ‘moor’. It takes
18th July 2015 together with Cedric Nunn at the Iwalewa
these encounters to sensitize people and Moses Serubiri
House. Besides Cedric Nunn’s photos the hardcover book
does this very well.
contains texts by Neelika Jayawardane Manori, Zakes Mda,
One of the treasures of Bayreuth is its beautiful Baroque Opera House. A painting shows Margravine Wilhelmine’s
Charl Piere Naudé, Jeff Peires, Ulf Vierke and Indra Wussow. http://www.iwalewa.uni-bayreuth.de
daughter next to a ‘court moor’, another invitation for the
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 23
SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition for Singers 2015 Blessed with voices that soar with jazzy richness or operatic timbre, twelve young singers are gearing up to vie for the two lucrative overseas scholarships offered by the SAMRO Foundation this year.
ix Western Art music and six jazz candidates
compete for top honours on 29 August, when the winners
have progressed to the semi-finals of this year’s
will be selected.
SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition for singers. The accomplished young vocalists – aged
For over half a century, SAMRO’s prestigious competition has awarded scholarships to young South African composers,
21 to 30 – will face another test of their vocal prowess
instrumentalists, keyboard players and singers to pursue
during a live intermediate round at Johannesburg’s
academic excellence or artistic mastery abroad.
Linder Auditorium on 27 August. A panel of leading
This August, new talent will join a glittering pantheon of
academic and industry adjudicators will select the top
South African musicianship – drawn from the ranks of these
two candidates in each genre and these four finalists will
twelve rising stars:
Khanyiso Gwenxane (26)
Andiswa Makana (29)
Hailing from Khayelitsha, Khanyiso’s early break was
Endowed with a warm, sonorous lyric soprano voice
performing on London’s West End in Isango Portobello’s
and inherent musicality, Andiswa sang in community
The Magic Flute in 2007/2008. He went on to complete his
choirs in her hometown of Port Elizabeth. However, she
national diploma in vocal art and BTech at the Tshwane
had no formal operatic training until she enrolled at the
University of Technology, as well as a postgraduate
Tshwane University of Technology, where she obtained her
diploma in music performance at the University of Cape
national diploma and BTech before heading to Cologne
Town. A tenor, he was a finalist in the 2014 Belvedere
to further her studies at the Hochschule für Musik und
International Singing Competition and has performed
Tanz, where she currently resides. She has excelled in
in numerous operas (including Faust in Stockholm),
several international opera competitions, but a highlight
concerts and oratoria, and as a soloist with the Cape
is performing the lead role of Winnie Mandela in Bongani
Ndodana-Breen’s Winnie – The Opera in 2012.
24 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Nombuso Ndlandla (26)
Victoria Stevens (24)
Piet Retief-born Nombuso started
Victoria obtained her BMus
singing in high school, clinching
in opera cum laude from the
second prize in a national
University of Cape Town
schools singing competition.
before embarking on an
She completed a BMus at North
MMus at the prestigious
West University, majoring in
Alexander Gibson Opera
opera singing. In 2014, she
School of the Royal
joined the international Lübeck
Conservatoire of Scotland,
choir academy and the Bamberg symphony choir, and is
where she is currently based. The accolades of this
currently in Germany, studying towards a Master’s degree at
Capetonian lyric soprano to date include the Ruth Ormond
the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz. This coloratura soprano
Award for most promising singer at UCT, first places in the
was also a semi-finalist in the International Competizione
UCTSSO Concerto Competition and the Schock Foundation
Dell’opera in Austria last year, and has performed as a
Voice Competition, and being a finalist in the Oxford Lieder
soloist in several opera productions and at the Johannesburg
Young Artist Recital. She also has several performance
International Mozart Festival.
credits to her name.
Levy Sekgapane (24)
Amy Campbell (23)
Born in Kroonstad, Levy sang in
Amy completed her BMus,
community and church choirs
specialising in jazz studies
before enrolling at the University
of Cape Town as a double major
distinction at the University
BMus student in classical piano
of Cape Town – receiving full
and singing. He is currently
marks for her final recital
completing a postgraduate diploma. He has sung in Germany and in a Scottish Commonwealth Games opera, and performed for US President Barack Obama during his visit to UCT. This exceptional young tenor recently won the 2015 Belvedere Competition for young opera singers, held in Amsterdam. He will soon join the young artist programme at Semperoper Dresden in Germany.
performance, a rare feat. She was part of the UCT Jazz Voices ensemble and has performed at the Arcevia Jazz Feast in Italy and Artscape’s World Aids Day gala concert as a solo artist, as well as at the Joy of Jazz in Johannesburg with the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band. This young Capetonian vocalist is already in high demand on the local jazz performance circuit.
Makudupanyane Senaoana (23)
Mikhaela Kruger (23)
Possessed of a rare soulfulness
Makudupanyane is currently
beyond her years, Mikhaela
a student of the South
undertook a BMus, specialising
African College of Music at
in jazz composition and
the University of Cape Town,
arrangement, at the University
having been schooled at the
of Cape Town, graduating
Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School.
with distinction in 2013. This
He won the university’s Rialto/
Cape Town resident was chosen to perform in the Standard
Olitalia competition and was a finalist in the Paris Opera
Bank National Youth Jazz Band at the National Arts Festival
Competition, while also being invited to participate in the
and Joy of Jazz, and also in the summer jazz programme at
Houston Grand Opera’s young artist academy. This gifted
the Conservatorium of Amsterdam in association with the
young tenor has performed with the likes of Lira and Bryn
Manhattan School of Music. Her local performances include
Terfel, in several opera productions and on the main stage of
Jazz in the Park at Maynardville and with Imogen Heap at the
New York’s Glimmerglass Festival.
Paul Cluver wine estate.
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 25
Zoë Modiga (21) Born in Durban and raised in Pietermaritzburg, Zoë moved to Johannesburg to attend the National School of the Arts and pursued her studies in jazz at the University of Cape Town from 2012 to 2014. This young singer-songwriter has already performed at the Aardklop, Joy of Jazz and Cape Town International Jazz festivals, and has shared stages with many of the industry’s established luminaries. She has sung on recordings by The Kiffness and the Frank Paco Art Ensemble, and has been the vocalist for jazz act Breakfast Included for the past three years.
Kwena Ramahuta (27) Kwena is in the final year of his BMus degree, majoring in jazz studies, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is one of the top students and an active performer at the university lunch-hour concerts on campus, as well as at his local church and in a professional jazz band he recently established. This Durbanite has sung with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and was part of the university’s exchange programme with the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, in the United States.
Amy Walton (22) Regarded as an excellent vocalist and a particularly creative Nelmarie Rabie (30) Pretoria-based Nelmarie was chosen as a semi-finalist in the ATKV Crescendo Competition at the age of 18. She studied jazz at the Tshwane University of Technology, graduating in 2006 and going on to reach the semi-finals of the 2007 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition. Nelmarie has performed widely on stages across the country and as far afield as Abu Dhabi, with the all-female group La Diva and as a solo artist. She recorded an album in 2013 and completed her B.Mus honours at the University of Pretoria the same year, graduating cum laude.
26 / Creative Feel / August 2015
musician – in composition, arrangement and performance – by her university superiors, Amy is currently in her final year in the jazz studies programme at the University of Cape Town. She has been an integral part of college ensembles such as the UCT Big Band and Jazz Voices, and has been performing at corporate functions and as a session singer, while serving as a jazz vocal coach. Among this Capetonian’s recent solo outings was the KwaZuluNatal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Valentine’s Day concert. For more information, contact email@example.com or 011 712 8417, or visit http://www.samrofoundation.org.za.
Semi-finalists from the 2011 Scholarships Competition for Singers
SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition for Singers Intermediate Round - Thursday 27 August Final Round - Saturday 29 August Linder Auditorium Johannesburg
Investing in the value of music since 1962 For further information or to request an invitation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011 712 8417 www.samrofoundation.org.za
As part of the season that will open the newly refurbished Laager Theatre, the Market Theatre is producing Barney Simon’s Cincinnati. Nondumiso Msimanga spoke to Market Theatre Artistic Director, James Ngcobo. theatre opens it will be to rustically modern, wooden seats that bring in the novel approach of Ngcobo’s direction and maintain the significant history by ushering in its audience through massive iron gates that hearken to the past. The play will play alongside Crepuscule and share a similar design as the pliable space is initially used as an end-stage. What is relevant about Cincinnati is not only that it is written by Barney Simon – for whom there will be a feast prior to the opening – but that it is like an orange of the past that has not been shared enough for all to eat. It is not one of the overly-performed Protest Theatre plays.
magine being given an orange, an orange that one must name and take care of for a while. Imagine that after a while, when that orange is ripe, one is then asked to eat it. What stories would one tell from that experience?
What memories may be conjured for a group of different people from different backgrounds? In his orange exercise, Barney Simon created a space for an actor to be able to pull from their emotional memory a pool of information from which to tell stories that they may not have recalled or been able to narrate without the help of the unassuming fruit. When James Ngcobo, the Artistic Director of the Market Theatre who now fills Simon’s shoes, chose to produce Simon’s Cincinnati as part of the new season that will open the refurbished Laager Theatre he wanted to honour the seat of knowledge that paved the way for him. When the
28 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Outside the Market Theatre
Protest Theatre plays of the apartheid era in South Africa are generally the most staged productions in any year. Ngcobo says that ‘the trend has created a hole in memory in how we are able to take a moment and pause and look at the plays for their intrinsic value. Cincinnati is generally overlooked in the staging of memory in terms of the Protest plays. The club from which the title is taken was seen as a place to escape. It was ‘a place of hope’. Set in the days before the club was to be closed down by the state because it went against the laws of segregation – people of different races would come together to dance – the play is on the cusp of desperate hope and encroaching hopelessness. Ngcobo describes the atmosphere as ‘a glass house with a crack in the wall.’ It is a tersely happy dance that happens between people who had had hope that the people they had met in this club could be friends and lovers outside of this zone. True to Barney Simon’s legacy of apprenticeship, Ngcobo created a mentorship that would groom an emerging voice to direct the work. Coincidentally, the chosen young director Clive Mathibe had studied under Simon during his time at the Market Lab. Ngcobo also secured Vanessa Cooke as mentor to Mathibe, as she holds first-hand knowledge of the original production and Simon’s processes in yielding the stories, as she was an actress in the play. The Market Barney Simon
Theatre sent Mathibe to Toronto, Canada as an assistant director for the Shakespeare Comedy of Errors in his preparation toward stepping into Simon’s play. Shakespeare was a common reference during apartheid where speaking directly to the social ills was censored. The Comedy of Errors also provides a stimulating parallel to the absurdities presented in Cincinnati. Coming back to South Africa with a fresh view of directing on an international stage makes for an exciting venture for the young director. For Ngcobo, these kinds of opportunities are vital to ensure that historical memory is filled with all the stories and not just a select few, but it is also crucial because the young directors of today will be carrying the mantle forward. He says, ‘If we’re not mentoring young storytellers and young directors, the actors, we lack foresight.’ He sees it as his responsibility to grow the future artists who will be performing at the Market Theatre and to teach them the processes of its previous masters so that the stories of the past are told alongside those of today. About Mathibe he says that, ‘when a young person has something in their eyes that says, “I want this,” it is the most exciting thing to see.’ And the light in Ngcobo’s own eyes when he speaks about the project is a testament to his faith in the storyteller. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 29
STANDARD BANK YOUNG ARTIST AWARD WINNERS NEVER STOP MOVING FORWARD
Animal Farm Directed and adapted by former Standard Bank Young Artist Neil Coppen and produced by ShakeXperience, Animal Farm will be on the Market Theatre stage from 26 August to 6 September 2015. This critically acclaimed and Naledi Award-winning production features a cast of Momo Matsunyane, Mpume Mthombeni, Khutjo Bakunzi-Green, Mandisa Nduna, Zesuliwe Hadebe and Tshego Khutsoane.
tandard Bank Young Artists are envied for having
with each new play. In fact, he has ‘gone back to school’ to
the title to their name as they move forward. But
write a Masters dissertation on the major question of our
progress is not in the hands of the Award, it is the
time: How can we free ourselves? In this collaboration with
individual artists who must take the accolade and
ShakeXperience, Coppen creates a work of art that engages
continue to develop. The Award is a key to greater freedom.
with where South Africa is today as a free country. He does
It is not freedom itself. When Neil Coppen, winner for
so with the aim of speaking to young people who should
Theatre 2011, says that his work is about interrogating
be reaping the rewards of freedom, and a female cast that
freedom and then says, ‘It’s not about politics,’ it sounds
scrutinises its society to understand why Orwell’s 1945 story is South Africa’s narrative decades after 1994. And, he says, ‘It’s just about really telling stories.’
“Animal Farm looks at people who are really deceived into thinking they’re free and who wake up one day and realise that, ‘hang on, this is not what we fought for’”
In order to move forward from a painful past, South Africa went on a storytelling mission with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Human faces melted into the South African psyche of the past. Orwell’s story, on the other hand, takes the fantastical stance of anthropomorphism to represent a world where freedom is a farce. A pig called Napoleon wins freedom for his fellow animals and then proceeds to pilfer it all for himself as he hoards the food and grows fatter and fatter. Coppen says that ‘Orwell pinned it. It’s not just SA. It’s the world.’ So in his version of Orwell’s tale he begins with a line-up of the various culprits of the world’s theatre of the absurd. The
contradictory. The director of the all-female cast South
characters stand with a green apple in their hand that they halve
African adaptation of Animal Farm – George Orwell’s famous
in one bite and proceed to demolish with greedy mastication.
novella – also says that ‘It’s not just South Afirca.’ For him,
It is a terrifyingly funny image of each individual’s ability to
moving forward is a research thesis that he writes or rewrites
devolve into their animalistic nature.
30 / Creative Feel / August 2015
‘Animal Farm looks at people who are really deceived into
‘Sometimes imagination is all we have to imagine
thinking they’re free and who wake up one day and realise
a better way,’ he says. It is a coping mechanism in a
that, “hang on, this is not what we fought for,”’ states Coppen.
country of daily absurdities and injustices. His Animal
It is difficult to reconcile with the fact that each person could
Farm is constantly being adapted as the actresses bring
be as much an oppressor as they can be oppressed, human
newspaper articles every day of rehearsal. The actresses
as much as animal and that people are always free no matter
are also researchers because Coppen works to empower his
the political circumstance. Moving forward does not create
performers. He calls the cast ‘my favourite people’. With
a clean line between past and present, it means becoming
a country rich with Napoleons, Boxers and Mollies – and
more profoundly aware of the responsibilities that come
a world just as replete – building fire pools in their farm
with achieving greater freedom. Coppen’s Masters research
houses and hoarding all the apples, so that from a whole
expands on his innate desire to free the self from the notion
cast of apple-eaters there is eventually only one stuffed
that freedom ‘can be granted to you by people or taken away
Napoleon, it becomes difficult to empathise. Power seems
from you.’ And by reinvesting in stories he is attempting to
transformed into the faces of unrecognisable animals but
create new dialogues. He has been working in Zulu for the
here is where Coppen creates magic. Just when the screen
past eight months on Ulwembo: The Web, tackling the issue
seems dead – still, after having blown with fresh winds at
of overwhelming drug use in Durban youths. In his first
the start of the revolution, the sheet shimmers again and
Afrikaans play in Cape Town he works on Die Dag is Droog
human faces are once more revealed. This is the vital thing
(The Day is Dry). And, with Animal Farm he has collaborated
in moving forward: empathy!
with ShakeXperience to make the literature live for young people and ‘root them to a context.’
Tickets are available on Computicket. For more information or group bookings contact email@example.com. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 31
Penny Siopis, Melancholia, Oil on canvas, 1986
Viva With 30 years now to its credit, the Barclays Lâ€™Atelier has an established history of broadening young artistsâ€™ horizons.
32 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Clive Van den Berg, Central Park Durban, Oil on canvas 1987
n 1986, Penny Siopis was the first winner of an exciting new art competition with Melancholia – a baroque feast of overripe fruit, Greek statuary, lilies and chandeliers, presided over by a Vervet monkey and the artist’s
shadowy reflection. Melancholia was subsequently acquired by the Johannesburg Art Gallery, and replicated in a multitude of grainy, black and white photocopies as part of the matric
Diane Victor, The problem of being a god these days, 1987
“Back then, the residency was very much a response to the isolation of South African artists – there just weren’t many opportunities available”
art syllabus. Siopis built a career as one of the country’s best-known artists; and the new competition became an
and Volkskas, and presented the winner with a six-month
anticipated fixture on the South African art scene. To this
residency in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts.
day, the L’Atelier offers perhaps the most coveted prizes up
‘Volkskas always had an interest in art,’ notes Bayliss. ‘If
for grabs. Back in the ‘80s, it offered the winning artists an
you think of the Absa art collection, it was forged from
unprecedented glimpse of a world beyond their own.
the collections of our forerunners. Probably the two banks
Originally known as the Volkskas Atelier, the competition represented a partnership between SANAVA
that had the two biggest art collections were United and Volkskas; they were combined to form Absa. In the ‘80s,
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 33
Marco Cianfanelli, Interference, Painting, 2002
when the whole advent of sports sponsorship was opening
artists, experience influences your work,’ says Bayliss.
up, suddenly there were other opportunities. Art was one of
‘The residency then was very much a response to the
them, although very much more a niche focused area... But
isolation of South African artists – there just weren’t many
it allowed you to service your clients in a certain way, as a
financial institution.’ At the time, notes Dr Paul Bayliss, present day curator
Changes in the competition (of which there have been many, of late) reflect a broader revolution: ‘I believe
for the Absa Gallery and Barclays L’Atelier competition,
the art world has changed quite radically,’ says Bayliss.
South Africa was isolated, mired in apartheid. Consequently,
‘There are more opportunities both locally and abroad for
artists were largely cut off from the international art scene.
South African artists: biennales, art fairs, festivals, more
The Paris residency offered a local artist exposure to the
competitions; local galleries that have formed networks
riches of the galleries and museums of Paris, along with
and working partnerships with overseas galleries, things
extensive contact with other artists from around the globe.
Thirty years on, and much has changed. ‘Today, the
One of the first big developments in the L’Atelier’s
residency is more about the artists gaining exposure,
ongoing evolution came in 2004, when the Alliance
that interaction with peers; very much to say that for the
Francaise came on board to offer the Gerhard Sekoto
34 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Conrad Botes, Theatre of Cruelty, Acrylic on Masonite, 2003
award to a promising artist with an annual income below
‘We acknowledge them, they get a certificate, but no cash
a specified amount. The prize included a three-month
prize.’ Since 2013, merit winners instead win a two-day
residency at the Cité, and a travelling exhibition following
workshop in art professionalism offered by Art Source. ‘I
the artist’s return (the L’Atelier winner, in contrast, has a
could see, working with the artists, that there was a need
solo exhibition at the Absa Gallery). In 2005, this was won
for this... The workshop is tailored specifically to our needs,
for the first time by Lawrence Lemoaona.
so the winners receive media training; training in how to
In 2011, the Gerard Sekoto award’s travelling exhibition
prepare for a residency; or interact with a gallery. We also
circuit, formerly limited to the offices of the Alliance
include financial training. As an artist, if you sell R200 000
Francaise, was extended to include a number of galleries.
worth of work this month, and nothing for the next six
The 2012 winner of the award, Isabel Mertz, thus had her
months, how do you plan for that?’ says Bayliss.
work exhibited in galleries around the country, as did the 2013 winner Bambo Sibiya. In the last five years, a barrage of exciting developments
Bayliss has also linked the L’Atelier firmly to the work of the Absa Gallery. Unlike in the past, the Gallery now solely exhibits the work of artists to have come through the L’Atelier or been in
have taken place. ‘The first change we made was to do away
some way associated with it – the latter including artists such
with the cash prize awarded to the top ten,’ notes Bayliss.
as Michael Meyersfeld, who has served as an adjudicator for the
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 35
James Webb, Autohagiography, Mixed media, 69.5 x 182 x 64cm, Photograph by Blank projects and Galerie imane fares
competition, and Artist Proof Studio, which has fielded a large number of winning entrants over the years. Promising artists that make their mark on the competition are sometimes offered
‘The other thing is that as a gallery, we don’t take any commission,’ adds Bayliss. In other words, the L’Atelier now goes much further in
spots in curated group shows, held at the gallery or further
championing successful entrants (i.e. those who make it into
afield, at the Absa KKNK. (Last year’s Post Colonial Africa;
the top 100) and working with them.
2013’s the Seven Deadly Virtues, and 2012’s Hanging Gardens, for
In 2013, the competition introduced a further two
example, were all curated group exhibitions of former finalists’
new residencies. The first, a two-month stay at the Sylt
work). Finalists are also occasionally selected to take on some
Foundation on the Island of Sylt in Germany, with flights,
of the many commissions to come in through the Gallery;
accommodation and monthly stipend all provided, was
visitors may well have been struck by the gigantic mural by
won for the first time by Jaco van Schalkwyk. The second, a
Lehlogonolo Mashaba, or the work of Maja Marx.
one-month residency at the Ampersand Foundation in New
36 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Stephen Rosin, The devil makes his christmas pie from politicians’ tongues and bankers’ fingers, 2008
York City, with accommodation, return flight and a stipend,
included entries from Kenya, Botswana, Ghana and Zambia,
went to Kathleen Sawyer. Her win also saw her become a
with yet another residency added to an already thrilling set
Fellow of the Ampersand Foundation. Armed with an AAM
of possibilities: one non South African merit award winner
(American Association of Museums) card, she and future
will earn a three month residency at Johannesburg’s Bag
winners enjoy free access to most museums in New York
Factory, bringing him or her into contact with some of our
City during their residency.
own most exciting talents.
Which brings us to 2015: What was once the Volkskas
Thirty years on, and the L’Atelier has given a
Atelier and later the Absa L’Atelier, is now known as the
significant number of artists much to celebrate, most
Barclays L’Atelier; and in keeping with bank’s presence
especially the chance to widen their horizons and bring
in Africa, the competition is gradually being rolled out
their work to the attention of a greater audience. It’s come
into the greater continent. This year’s L’Atelier therefore
a long way since Melancholia...CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 37
Winner of the 2015 Barclays L’Atelier: Kai Lossgot Kai Lossgott’s video artwork, Small and Common Matters, interrogates ‘the small, everyday violences’ perpetuated by a certain mindset, and calls attention to that which we do not see.
Kai Lossgott, Small and Common Matters, winner or the 2015 Barclays L’Atelier
mall and Common Matters is a 3-minute and
in". It’s a military tactic, and it means to look around you in a
13-second video comprising found objects and
very particular kind of way,’ he says.
images. ‘I stalk images... images in which you find that moment of almost falling apart, but still holding
together – which I think is an emotional quality that speaks
‘...We don’t notice what’s under our feet. You walk in the street and you crush an ant, but you don’t realise that.’ Lossgott’s work is deeply critical of our innate
very much of our times,’ says Lossgott. These are captured
anthropocentricism, our tendency to look at things in the
using time-lapse photography, and accompanied by soundtrack
world in a human-centred way, as a means for human gain
that includes fragments of a lecture on dissecting a flower.
– ‘how can we exploit them, what we can extract from them,
The video seeks to consider ‘the way things deteriorate
how things can be useful to us, rather than valuing their
or vanish over time; the small moments that you miss in the
intrinsic worth as life on this planet, which has given birth to
habitual blindness; and to draw your attention as a viewer,
us,’ he says. He critiques ‘the small, everyday violences that a
to what you might not see,’ he says.
particular rational mind-set that discounts the imagination,
At the heart of Lossgott’s work is the idea of ‘the hostile gaze in the landscape. Our wish to control the environment,
that discounts intuition, that discounts other ways of knowing, can have on the world.’
or to organise things and to fix things that are supposedly
‘That way of engaging with the world – the desire to
broken, or to interfere with things that are just not the way
engineer out chaos, engineer out randomness, engineer out
we would like them to be... Our word for "environment"
failure – is, I believe, a way to reduce the richness and the
comes from the Latin word "environ", which means "to fence
generosity, in a sense, of life on this planet’. CF
38 / Creative Feel / August 2015
The Merit Award winners The work selected as finalists in this year’s edition of the Barclay’s L’Atelier spanned a wide range of media, and demonstrated innovation, talent and originality. Here are the 2015 Merit Award winners, soon to be jetting their way to an exciting set of international residencies. Natalie Moore, Gerard Sekoto Award
worldwide [in contrast to these fairy tales]... the Tokoloshe
The winner of the 2015 Gerard Sekoto award, a three-month
is not a very widely known tale; I think it’s quite unique to
residency at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, is
South Africa,’ she says.
Natalie Moore. In a series of three photographs entitled Once Upon a Time Jozi, Moore references three classic and
Nelmarie Du Preez
well-known Western fairy tales – The Princess and the
Nelmarie Du Preez is the winner of a one-month residency
Pea, Rapunzel, and Cinderella – and uses these as a kind
with the Ampersand Foundation in New York. In To Stab, her
of cookie cutter, imposed onto the streets of Johannesburg
winning 45-second single channel video, the artist performs
with a surprising visual dissonance and resulting tragicomic
a ‘trust exercise’ opposite a computerised robotic arm. With
humour. ‘I wanted the viewer to pick up the story in it...
controlled jerks that sometimes deteriorate into random
they’re very generic stories told. I wanted to take Africa
thrusts as the motor wears out, the robot arm stabs a knife between each of the artist’s widespread fingers. ‘The trust is extended by the fact that I am also the person who built and programmed the robot, so I also have to trust my own capabilities,’ says Du Preez. ‘Overall, my whole practise is very much about relationships, and trust in particular – what
Natalie Moore, Once upon a Time Jozi, Gerard Sekoto prize
and force it into that generic mould,’ says Moore. ‘The
Nelmarie Du Preez, To Stab, Merit winner
world is becoming a very small place, and I think people are
role trust plays in the way that we interact as humans, with
becoming more mass-produced – this is what’s on social
each other but also with objects; and also how we innovate new
media; that’s what I must wear; that’s how I must talk. So
technologies and how we end up trusting technology, in such an
this is talking to preserving identity.’
unconscious way. You get on an aeroplane, and you trust that
Moore works in a twist particular to this part of the world
it’s going to get you there safely... This work really speaks about
in her version of The Princess and the Pea, which captures a
that relationship, and how sometimes we end up trusting things
figure sleeping upon a bed raised off the floor using several
more than we trust each other.’
cans of Koo peas, thus hinting at the urban African myth
This is one work in a series, in which she sees the robot
of the malevolent Tokoloshe. ‘I think there are cultures
as an individual performer in its own right, and the boundary
in Africa that are not preserved, and they’re not known
between the two as unclear. The series is inspired in
particular by the work of Marina Abramović and Ulay – with
To Stab referencing a performance in which Abramović took
Hailing from Ghana, Gideon Appah graduated from the
on Ulay’s role following their break up. Du Preez completed
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in
a BA (Culture and Arts), followed by an Advanced Diploma in
Kumasi, Ghana, in 2012. His mixed media work, entitled
Visual Arts, both from Unisa, before undertaking a Masters
Worn Out Family, has won the young artist a three-month
in Computational Arts, and after that a Masters in Fine Arts,
residency at the Bag Factory, here in Johannesburg, making
at Goldsmiths College in London.
Appah the first entrant to be awarded this new prize.
Nina Kruger Nina Kruger’s work, entitled Those Forgotten, comprises a collection of independently standing, knee high, crudely carved wooden figures. They are only barely identifiable as ‘figures’, due to the roughly shaped head that tops each minimally shaped branch. Most have nothing resembling
Nina Kruger, Those Forgotten, Merit winner
limbs or other appendages; in the struggle between
Gideon Appah, Worn Out Family, Merit winner
Part of a series, Worn Out Family sets out to embody the
humanness and raw nature, nature is far stronger. ‘Nature is
sexual and popular culture, along with its attendant anxiety,
displayed to overwhelm man’, she writes.
pleasure and ecstasy, that Appah perceives in the life of his
Those Forgotten was created from the wood of a tree cut down because it made a mess of the driveway – a life
surrounding society. ‘I work with concept, and I work with play,’ notes Appah.
discarded, in effect, for being inconvenient. Thus the work
‘I want the two of them to be mixed together.’ Drawing on
criticises man’s disregard for the environment, a recurring
the history of painting – going right back to cave paintings
theme in the final works selected for the Barclays L’Atelier this
– and inspired by the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Jean
year. Kruger conveys a silent anger in the form of these small,
Michel Basquiat, and Marcel Duchamp, (among others)
potent, throwaway figures, which stand clustered together in
Appah layers marks, stencilling, texts, verbal comments, and
a frozen riot. In contrast, their small stature suggests a certain
symbols taken from his immediate environment – ‘picked
vulnerability; they are still easy to overlook, and the viewer
from the street’, as he says – with sexual imagery sourced
must bend down to view them closely.
partly from the Internet, that to Appah, represents a sexual
Kruger is presently completing her final year BA(FA)
culture ‘at its peak’ in Ghana. This he combines in a frenzied
at the University of Pretoria. Those Forgotten earns her a
blend of paint and mixed materials, in his search for a gritty,
two-month residency at the Kunst:Raum Foundation on the
unconstrained visual aesthetic informed by the urban decay
Island of Sylt in Germany.
and multi-layered activity of his surroundings. CF
40 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Y E S YO U YOU WITH THE POWER OF T H O U G H T. YOU WITH THE ABILIT Y TO FEEL. Y O U W I T H T H E PA S S I O N T O C R E A T E . AR T NEEDS YOU, FOR WITHOUT YOU, T H E R E C A N B E N O A R T.
For 30 years the L’Atelier art competition has helped develop some of the world’s most admired artists.
Liberty in Paris Creative Feel caught up with Liberty Battson, winner of last year’s Barclays L’Atelier competition, mid-way through her six month stay in Paris.
dds of an artist like me, the winning work at last
start for the newcomer. As Battson puts it, ‘winning L’Atelier
year’s L’Atelier, combined Liberty Battson’s
catapulted my art career and set me in a market place I would
investigation into the statistical likelihood of her
have never dreamed to be in so early in my career.’
succeeding as an artist (not good), with her mild
As it happens, this is not the first time Battson has
obsession with stripes. This won her a six month stay at the
undertaken a residency at the Cité. (And what are the odds of
Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, courtesy of Barclays
winning such an opportunity twice? Vanishingly small, one would think.) ‘I was able to come to the Cité in 2013 through a partnership with the University of Pretoria,’ she says.
“Taking up a residency inevitably removes you from you normal working environment and sometimes it’s not possible to produce the art you would normally in your studio at home, but I wouldn’t call it challenging – just an opportunity to explore your art and venture into new possibilities”
This stood her in good stead when it came to preparing for her residency this year. ‘Back then I contacted previous winners of L’Atelier, as well as others that had been selected from the University, to get advice,’ she recalls. ‘Winning another six months here was ideal because now I had an idea of how I could use this opportunity to my full advantage.’ Battson is utterly besotted with the city. ‘I am in love with Paris and my time here. The art world is on fire and I am so captivated by it. I have been completely inspired. I had no idea that when I got on that plane to go live in Paris for six months, that I would never return the same again. This opportunity not only inspired me but it has reshaped me.’ Central to this enchantment is the art to be found in the city and beyond. ‘The quality of art and the curated shows here is so impressive,’ she notes, speaking not only of Paris
and SANAVA, presumably improving her odds of success
but further abroad. ‘I have toured Europe to see my all-time
dramatically. This is the whole point of the L ‘Atelier, after
favourite masters, and I am using the inspiration as data for
all: to support and further the career of promising young
an my upcoming show at Aardklop in October. The fact that
artists. Aside from the coveted prize of a stay in Paris amid
there is so much great art here is too good not to absorb.’ All
a community of artists, the award offers a prestigious head
of which is ‘hugely’ inspirational. She has, she says, started
42 / Creative Feel / August 2015
on a ‘series of the influence of old masters and drawing parallels with them and myself.’ She shrugs off the ‘challenges’ that usually accompany spending several months in a foreign country and all the disruption this entails. ‘Taking up a residency inevitably removes you from you normal working environment and sometimes it’s not possible to produce the art you would normally in your studio at home, but I wouldn’t call it challenging – just an opportunity to explore your art and venture into new possibilities.’ The best thing about her stay in Paris, is, she says, the artistic fraternity, ‘without a doubt, the artist community that is created here at the Cité, living among 320 other artists from all over the world. The exchange is overwhelmingly influential to artists.’ At another point she elaborates, ‘meeting so many new cultures and learning about a global art community is eye-opening and is affecting my art not only as a South African artist, but in learning how to take an international step into the art world.’ At the time of writing, the announcement of the 2015 winners of the Barclays L’Atelier is only weeks away, when fortune will tag a new batch of talented individuals, give them wings and send them flying – to Paris, New York, Sylt or Johannesburg, whatever the case may be. What advice does Battson have to offer the new and future winners of this exceptional opportunity? ‘Go to every open studio. Have an open studio. Engage and try to start to produce and experiment as soon as you get here. It is the fastest six months of your life.’ CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 43
The Ampersand Foundation An important Barclays L’Atelier merit award is a one-month residency in New York City at the Ampersand Foundation. This award differs from other residencies in that the artist is not required to work and produce a new volume of art inspired by the changed environment. The Ampersand Foundation Residency is simply a ‘gift to the winner’, as Founder and Chairman Jack Ginsberg explains.
he Award offers the recipient, designated an
to go to Europe; he felt that it is more difficult for them to go
Ampersand Fellow, a fully funded one month long
to the US, despite the fact that some of the greatest art is to
residency at the Ampersand apartment situated
be found in New York.
in Tribeca in Manhattan, New York City. The
Paul Emmanuel, South African artist and printmaker
acronym TriBeCa stands for Triangle Below Canal, ‘a coveted
who uses various media, including photography and film,
swatch of real estate bordered by Canal Street (to the north)
to address issues of identity, particularly as a white male
West Street (to the east), Broadway (to the west) and Vesey
living in post-apartheid South Africa, was selected as the
Street (to the south).’ The residency includes return flights
first fellow of the Ampersand Foundation programme
to and from New York City, a stipend, as well as advice,
in 1997. Since then, the programme has been running
contacts and support. The winner will have access to the
uninterrupted and has now enabled some 149 South
American Association of Museums (AAM) card, which allows
African artists and those working in the visual arts and
the resident free access to most of the great museums and
drama sectors to spend time in residency in New York.
wonderful galleries in New York City, thereby benefiting the
Some of the artists who are today Fellows are Alex
young artist’s career development.
Trapani, Marco Cianfanelli, Katherine Bull, Mbongeni
Jack Ginsberg, a passionate and long-standing supporter
Richman Buthelezi, Robyn Nesbitt, Christiaan Diedericks,
of contemporary South African art, established the
Johann Louw, Bevan De Wet, Kathleen Sawyer and
Ampersand Foundation in 1997, seeing the need for South
African artists to be exposed to the international art world in
Ginsberg explains that the Ampersand Fellowship Award
order to be able to achieve their full potential. ‘South African
cannot be requested or applied for. Except for the annual
artists are very often unaware of how good they actually are
one-month residency of the Barclays L’Atelier winner, the
and what great work they are producing; only when they
Fellows are selected by the trustees of the Foundation
are able to compare their own work with what they see, for
according to an assessment of how much they are likely
example in New York, can they make a real comparison.’
to benefit from the opportunity. There is no actual list
When asked why he chose New York for the residency,
published with names and it is very much by word of mouth
Ginsberg elaborates how South African artists usually will try
or when shown in a CV, that one finds somebody to be a
44 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Somata by Kathleen Particia Sawyer. Artist’s Books, variable L’Atelier 2013, Ampersand Merit Award Winner
Fellow of the Ampersand Foundation. But once they talk
of the English alphabet. In the early 1800s, school children
about it, they all cite the residency as being an extraordinary
reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet with the ‘&’. It
gift, a unique interval in their careers that has afforded them
would have been confusing to say ‘X, Y, Z, and.’ Rather, the
incomparable experiences, exposure and opportunities for
students said, ‘and per se and.’ Per se means ‘itself’, so the
new perspectives and perceptions.
students were essentially saying, ‘X, Y, Z, and by itself and.’
Why the name Ampersand Foundation? Officially an ampersand is a logogram - ‘&’ - representing the conjunction word ‘and’, though to save confusion it is called a symbol. It
Over time, ‘and per se and’ was slurred together into the word we use today: ampersand. What a wonderful quirky explanation for the name of
originated as a ligature of the letters et, Latin for ‘and’. But
such a special Fellowship, the Ampersand Foundation,
in typical Jack Ginsberg fashion he shares his grandfather’s
which bestows such a special gift to the South African
typesetting background in South Africa and talks about his
artistic community and to Nelmarie du Preez, the 2015
own collection of wooden ‘&’ symbols and explains that after
Barclays L’Atelier merit award winner who will be spending
all the word ‘ampersand’ came when ‘&’ was actually part
her time in New York. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 45
Interesting Times ‘It’s an interesting time to be young in South Africa,’ says 24-yearold artist Luyanda Zindela. Zindela is a recipient of the L’Atelier Merit Award 2014 that sees a worthy artist on a residency with the Ampersand Foundation in New York.
indela’s mixed-media photography-sketches toy with images of historified figures in contemporary contexts. Having studied classical and neoclassical art at Durban University of Technology,
where he now works as lecturer’s assistant, he became fascinated with the image of the great scholar or philosopher of ancient history. He pictured young black people like himself in the white robes that adorned the statues of the great names. He then questioned why this image of knowledge and authority seemed peculiar on black figures. He says that ‘as an artist you are aware of what’s going on with “Rhodes Must Fall” etcetera,’ so the role of young people in relation to historical figures is intriguing to him. The new wealth of information at the fingertips of the youth makes them long to be involved. His work distinctively places young people in the frame of history.
46 / Creative Feel / August 2015
In his award-winning Umkhumbi wakaMedusa (The
in order to give himself a gauge of where he stood in the
ship of Medusa) Zindela plays with the ancient mythology
African contemporary art scene. As a Durbanite, his work
of Greece and Rome in its title. The Zulu title is also
had only really been seen by his peers in the city until the
a keen interest of Zindela’s, so as to propagate his
competition. Winning a Merit Award said to him: ‘Luyanda,
language and culture, making it acceptable for people
you belong in this industry.’ He was not only surprised to
to use their vernacular as a language of esteem and not
win but was thrilled. The gauge gave him a very positive
merely reverting to English. And so, Medusa is made part
reading. other artists selected for the Top Ten were older,
of the Zulu contemporary in his ship – a van – carrying
more experienced, and were people he looked up to. ‘As a
labourers to work. The strange juxtapositions of this work
young artist you get a lot of “no’s” before you get to “yes”,’
are completed with a romantic gold frame so that the
he says. But he had to enter to see if he could generate some
different layers of contrasting visuals become a parody
kind of dialogue through the art.
of content and form; as well as a circumlocutory social
He was able to talk to artists from Johannesburg who were
commentary. He draws young people into parliament
working as artists full time and realise that he could make a
scenes using a multimedia form that was inspired by his
career out of being an artist. He acknowledges that ‘in Durban
time in South Korea. The multimedia black and white
you kind of have to have a day job,’ and then says that ‘I felt
sketches alongside colour photography is like the words
really small during the gala event and New York made me
of the youth on social, media which have found their way
feel even smaller… It opened my eyes!!!’ He cherished the
into discussions by heads of state of late. The form creates
opportunity to visit all the museums and galleries of New York
an introspective social commentary by balancing figures
through the Ampersand Foundation because that was the real
of import looking out into the world and young people
eye-opener that helped him see how small the scale of work in
next to them looking in, unsure of how to use their free
South Africa is. He had dabbled in sculpture but had had to let
speech. It is a mix of media that makes the work both
go of this interest because of the cost of materials. He felt that
historical and colourfully contemporary simultaneously.
seeing the sheer scale of works in the American metropolis
Having been in Korea at the time of the gala event
showed him that even though he may be on the side of the
that presents the winners of the L’Atelier, Zindela had to
have-nots in terms of affording the materials to sculpt and
purchase a flight to South Africa and back to Korea for the
make grand-scale art, he was ‘grateful for being born in 1991’.
event. He had not imagined that he would win. He entered
He is planning larger works celebrating being young. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 47
Tracing the Historical Printmaker, award-winning visual artist, Ampersand Fellow and the Arts & Culture Trust’s ImpACT Award winner for 2015, Bevan de Wet spoke to Creative Feel’s Nondumiso Msimanga about the origins of his art.
Bevan de Wet, Decoruc in Gryphus I, 2014, etching with monoprint
Bevan de Wet, 2014, Unlikely Allies I, detail 1, etching, 200x84cm
Bevan de Wet, 2012, Oscillum XXI, screenprint, 100x70cm
eading the skin like a topographical map and
historical. He found it necessary to piece together the
mapping landscape as a permeable signifier
shards that he found on the floors of Grahamstown so
space, Bevan de Wet creates a world assembled
that he could construct a narrative for the broken pieces;
from the snippets of memory. The self-
that would envision a history and a future where the objet
proclaimed compulsive collector of artefacts of history is
d’art lived. As a Johannesburg bred South African, now
also fascinated by projections of the future. In his artwork,
working in his studio in the Central Business District
the printmaker manifests a matrix of images that come
(CBD), he sees his preoccupation as a result of living in a
from the discarded pieces of memory found in objects like
country where ‘everyone has more and more elements of
his family’s coat of arms and a simultaneous recollection
of the imagined sci-fi universes from childhood films.
‘We’re all constantly drawing from different things and
‘I’m starting with signifiers,’ he says. He is etching the
also from different times,’ de Wet says. It is necessary to
fragments of memory that pervade his memory and
deconstruct the story that makes South Africans who they
‘creating my own story from these.’ Since studying Fine
are, to become aware of the signifiers in order to create
Art at Rhodes University, he has worked with tracing the
a new narrative. Because stories are so ephemeral and
48 / Creative Feel / August 2015
memory so fragile, the process of archiving is significant
he had printed before. The four metre works included about
to de Wet’s artistic practice; where a print has to be cut up
120 pieces each and became a ‘kind of closing a chapter’.
to ensure that it cannot be reproduced. His signifier stories
He had spent four days going through the massive Natural
are of anthropomorphic figures that are spliced at parts.
History Museum immersed in the ‘way of collecting and
Artistically, de Wet has manufactured a novel mythology
categorising artefacts. De Wet was inspired by the ImpACT
that mixes human and animal characteristics with past and
Award’s perspective of awarding five young artists and five
future imagery. In Homo Melanoleuca the figure of a Homo
lifetime achievers toward focusing on the future. The future
genus that does not yet exist, and perhaps may have existed
is where his works are heading now.
in an imagined past, is a patchwork of lines in linocut. The
‘I like to think of it as futurist,’ he says. His landscapes
figure appears to be wearing a mask to shield the face of
are a matrix of journeys from the Vaal to Johannesburg and
melancholy underneath and she is gingerly reaching out to
around the world. He says, ‘I think of it like a computer!
Bevan de Wet, 2014, Unlikely Allies II, detail 1, etching, 200x84cm
Bevan de Wet, 2012, Oscillum XXII, screenprint, 100x70cm
Bevan de Wet, 2014, Black Diamond Butterfly, linocut, 80x124cm
share her emotion. Her legs are bandaged with lines in the
When you download from a computer you are actually
shapes of flags from the past that are unravelling. Her body
downloading little bits from a lot of people, and it kind of
is a landscape so the portrait is devoid of background.
assembles as a new picture.’ But he is aware of the absence
Now, the Ampersand Foundation Fellow (2013), ImpACT
in the picture. His work is empty of people or animals, or
Award (2014) and L’Atelier Merit Award (2014) winner is
his unique animal-people. He feels as though he is moving
finding himself at a ‘Transition point: First time I’m creating
backwards in time to fill in the background that his portraits
a landscape format.’ True to form, his new landscape work
were without. For him, this is not unsettling but a fitting way
is still deconstructed and ‘they are a lot of signifiers’ but the
to work in historical time.
key difference is the shift from portraits without context to
Time is always shifting backwards and forwards as new
landscapes without the content; of the personas. After going
inventions are made. ‘I don’t know if we’re ever really in
to New York as part of his Ampersand Foundation Fellowship
the NOW,’ he ruminates as he touches one of the pieces he
in the winter of 2013 he was reminded of how small and
is working on; calming the computer-paced-reeling of his
insular South Africa is. The shift was that he created a kind
mind. What he does know is that he is at home, in studio,
of retrospective that was much larger in scale than anything
in Johannesburg. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 49
You get what you give Creative Feelâ€™s Nondumiso Msimanga spoke to Jaco van Schalkwyk, the first Barclays Lâ€™Atelier Merit Award winner to receive a residency from kunst:raum sylt quelle (home of the Sylt Foundation) on the island of Sylt, from where he recently returned.
50 / Creative Feel / August 2015
firm handshake and a look in the eye, Jaco van
International headquarters he was raised in a faith home
Schalkwyk is unafraid to peer into the soul;
– where people live and work without pay but, on faith. It
his own and the world’s. With the telescopic
is ‘like a small town in Benoni; secluded and walled in’ and
iris of a camera, his latest exhibition Eden
it is where everyone became his father and mother when
zooms into barren landscapes and leaves one with traces
his father passed away when Schalkwyk was a young boy.
of life’s impermanence. In Eden, there are disappearing
It is where he learned that he was not rebellious when he
figures, shadowy forests and footprints in the sand that
went to school ‘outside the walls’. Pictured in some of his
document a sense of what is left behind when the seasons
landscapes as BNI (with a date and time) for a title, the
change in paradise. Schalkwyk states matter-of-factly, as
work’s precise processes of archiving and preservation
though narrating a documentary on his life: ‘I grew up in
are a sober and deep gaze into what is meant by paradise.
a very pastoral environment.’ In Benoni, South Africa, he
Schalkwyk quips that his museum of different perspectives
grew up in a missionary. At Jatniël, the Latter Rain Mission
of Eden is not sentimental but a conversation and so the
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 51
code of various landscapes speaks to a more symbolic
base in WWII. The mystic moral could also be the voice of
sensibility that questions the ideal. He says, ‘this is not
the land that found itself blasted with holes that steamed
Misty Mornings Benoni’ as he stands in front of the large
from the unwelcome impact. Arriving for a residency
painting with a red dot at the Absa Gallery.
on the Island alone during the winter, van Schalkwyk
The categorised titling of the pieces is also stencilled
found himself confronted with the prophetic idea of an
onto the side of the pictures as though the creator were
island. It was not the palm trees and languid picture of
fixated on ensuring that the images were not lost. In a
an idyllic paradise; it was ‘a place of the unknown’. He
large piece depicting a forest scene from the Sylt Island
walked through rough winds and shifting sands with a
in Germany, the words: DU KRIEGST WAS DU GIBST
camera and photographed the ever-changing landscape.
(YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE) appear through a haze of
He found forests of trees planted to protect the people
smoke. With a pun on the word krieg – which also means
but which grew sideways due to the wind and whose roots
‘war’ – it is like a lesson from the forefathers who once
lay exposed in loose soil. He saw people’s perception of
occupied that space and died when Sylt was a military
paradise as being at war with nature and he recalled that
52 / Creative Feel / August 2015
in Benoni Jatniël was built in a valley and it would flood
at Sylt, van Schalkwyk travelled into restricted territory.
so measures had to be taken to change the landscape.
Smiling he notes, ‘Ah there’s my rebellious side.’ He saw
Exhibiting in the Absa Gallery in the Johannesburg
human structures – built and rebuilt every winter – which
central business district after returning from Sylt as the
held ‘a threatening quiet there’. This and the image of roots
Merit Award Winner of the Barclays L’Atelier in 2013 it is
revealed became his installation, a fragile refuge like an
as though the Gallery is an island where one could almost
island on an island but whose roots are not strong enough.
step into the painted scenery. Curated by Stephan Erasmus
In the place of the unknown, he had finally arrived from
with whom van Schalkwyk collaborated on the exhibition’s
a long journey with Barclays/Absa. In 2010 he was in the Top
finale, the installation: Hurnum, the Gallery is transformed
100 of the L’Atelier; in 2011, Top 10; and in 2013, won a Merit
into an absorbing sanctum. The journey of the exhibition
Award. A painting of his is now part of their collection and
follows the meticulous journey of a soldier on a mission
he proudly steps up the escalator to show it. He says, ‘I was
to capture memories and morals and retain them through
really glad I won that prize.’ The conversation of his work
‘a spiritual activity – painting.’ On his most important day
continues to grow from himself, space and society. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 53
Cronus Complex Since completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours Degree in 1993 Jenny Nijenhuis only began exhibiting her work in 2012 at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg. She was shortlisted for the Top 3 Lizamore Mentorship the following year and is premiering her first solo exhibition at Lizamore this year.
he rest, as it is often said, is history. She says, ‘It finally feels like I’ve arrived at the right place at the right time.’ She had always wanted to be an artist but she had to seek work in order to
survive. She taught herself design and now runs a company with two designers and web developers that also offers marketing communication. ‘It’s not a big leap. From my perspective of life everything you do has to have a creative outlet,’ she says. But even with this creative outlet she still yearned for the career she had always wanted: to be an artist. After a lengthy conversation with her husband some years ago now, she chose to cut back and focus on select clients, build a studio and begin to sculpt and take photographs again. She is not looking back. Her life experience and research have brought her to some hard conclusions. She does not feel free in the world today and is keenly interested by the archetypes of the human psyche that perpetuate this lack of freedom in society. ‘I just feel that the structure that we live in is so dictated and we are not made to actually feel free,’ she states. In Scarecrow, she looks at an archetype of ownership and land possession. The scarecrow is also an indirect religious commentary because it is mounted on a cross and ‘symbolically they are almost a fill in for a person and almost like a deity.’ It speaks to an underlying fear at the heart of humanity’s possessiveness over land as well as questioning the idea of ownership when nature’s birds that freely roam and eat at leisure are forced out by scarecrows. The image she depicts is surrounded by egg-like pods that speak to the fleeting nature of ownership as even these relics now stand on fragile ground; they are no longer needed to stand as the odd gods of land. In The Cronus Complex, the Titan god of destructive time
Jenny Nijenhuis, The Cronus Complex
54 / Creative Feel / August 2015
who so feared usurpation that he devoured his children immediately after birth, Cronus is shown with eyes and
forced to expel Zeus from his belly. For Nijenhuis, her Cronus is surrounded by lines pointing in all directions. They are as the various options open to him but he stands still like a monk of silence, bleeding quietly from his shut mouth. She has become aware that ‘whatever reality you are living in can be a different one if you just change your mind’. Even though she believes that it is ‘very difficult to say that you are free,’ she enacts her freedom through her art by making the choice to create alternative ways of being. Art is an ‘alternative way of thinking,’ she says. By physically moulding her thoughts, Nijenhuis is more aware of the choices she makes. Simply put, ‘it feels like what I’m meant to be doing,’ she says and breathes a sigh of relief, as though she has finally allowed herself to say that she is free. One of the questions she used to ask was: ‘Is there more than one reality?’ She now sculpts her own answers. CF
lips bleeding red. The solemn figure is the prototype of all-consuming power. Nijenhuis attributes her perspective to a difficult young life. She now knows this history to be part of her potent ability to embody restriction and speak to structures of power. She became aware of the images that govern society when she was in primary school. ‘I went to a convent my whole school career. A very strong Catholic education and we weren’t even Catholic. So I didn’t always agree with how life was represented,’ she says. She had many questions as a child that followed her throughout her adult life. She ruminates that perhaps that was also the reason for the large gap between completing her degree and discovering herself as an artist. She says, ‘when I just had questions, I had nothing to say.’ Questions can become self-consuming. When they are about a life of unexplained pain they can eat away at someone from the inside and inflict even more suffering on the victim; from within like Cronus, who was eventually
Bev Butkow – m/other Jenny Nijenhuis – The masters of misdirection Both exhibitions run form 6 August –29 August 155 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood Tel: +27 (0) 11 880 8802 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Gallery Hours: Tues to Fri 10:00-17:30 Sat 10:00-15:30
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 55
Following a new beat Unathi Malunga rediscovers an old love in a transition that will see her break new ground as one of the country’s first black woman conductors.
s a child, Unathi Malunga conducted choirs. Standing in front of her television set, she led the performers to musical heights – a memory that would likely have lain buried and forgotten,
had she not recently decided to return to her first love, after more than a decade specialising in entertainment law. Malunga is no stranger to a life of music. She started playing the piano at six, taking up the cello several years later, studying under distinguished cellist, Dr Ishbel Sholto-Douglas, and attending Rhodes University as it was the only institution that would allow her to major in both music and law. ‘I was tired of music,’ she says. ‘Everyone who does music knows it is a lifestyle of discipline and is not only time consuming, but consumes your life. I was put through school on scholarships and bursaries for music, so even though I enjoyed it immensely I always felt a certain pressure... I also
“The art of conducting is arguably the highest, most complete synthesis of all the facets of musical activity” knew how much certain teachers had fought to keep me at the school, how much they had believed and nurtured my talent. I was tired – not only of the life of discipline it calls for, and carefully managing and monitoring my time as a child, but also of the sacrifices... That is why so many give music up; they cannot stand the hours of practicing, in isolation, and the sacrifices. So by the time I got to varsity, I had had enough.’ Malunga continued on to an LLB degree, and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study entertainment law at UCLA. No doubt the self-discipline developed through years of musical training paid off in the numerous achievements she racked up during the course of her ongoing law career, and
56 / Creative Feel / August 2015
yet, ‘something was missing,’ she recalls. ‘This feeling was
isolation and personal study. A conductor has to achieve
constantly gnawing at me and I could not figure out what it
the ‘ideal’ performance – through each of the orchestral
was. It really should have been quite obvious, but it wasn’t.
musicians, who themselves as experienced musicians, bring
It was my lack of involvement in music. Once that became
their own interpretation to a piece of music. She must lead the
apparent, I then had to figure out whether I just needed to re-
team to achieve unity in the interpretation and performance
integrate it into my life peripherally (i.e. as a hobby) or whether
and still must transmit this ‘ideal’ performance to the
it was calling to be a central part of my life. Of course, it turned
audience – all the while trying to stay true to the composer’s
out to be the latter.’
score and instruction. It’s a fantastic challenge and an honour,
A growing interest in extending the reach of classical
in my view, because music is the most fleeting of the arts – it
music prompted Malunga to return to Rhodes to study music
lives only when it is actually heard. It is also such a spiritual
education. She resumed her piano lessons with Julliard-
art – it has the ability to take people places and reach into a
educated, international concert pianist Mariel Ilusorio, and
person’s soul, heal and, even if for a moment, it has the ability
took conducting, with violinist/conductor Juan Luis Muñoz,
to transform them. It is a responsibility’.
and arts management as elective courses. ‘It was then that
Returning to the art has not been easy; as Malunga puts
I decided to focus on and pursue professional conducting
it, ‘music is not a field you leave,’ and she still has her law
as a career option. I needed to be more directly involved
career to maintain. Nevertheless, she has few regrets.
with hands-on music-making, and it would also allow me to continue to engage in music outreach.’ Malunga is a fervent believer in the necessity of
‘I used to think I’ve ‘wasted’ so much time away from music, but I have not. In that time I have gained considerable experience and skills in certain other “extra-musical”
‘thorough preparation; focusing, honing and getting
considerations... I realise now that my legal, negotiation
good at your craft. I try to do anything I do with a spirit
and business experience, knowledge of arts management,
of excellence,’ she says. She has therefore given herself a
community, legacy and fundraising work, as well as
time-frame for preparation, studying under the guidance
networking and investment promotion experience, all serve
of American Maestro Robert Maxym and the Romanian
to prepare me for the ultimate role of music director of an
Maestro Corvin Matei.
orchestra – whether it is dealing with orchestral management,
‘The art of conducting is arguably the highest, most complete synthesis of all the facets of musical activity,’ she explains. ‘A lot of work takes place behind the scenes, in
boards, the community and leadership experience in leading the orchestra itself.’ ‘Nothing is wasted,’ she says. CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 57
Jazz in the Springtime 3 Cohens
58 / Creative Feel / August 2015
September heralds the arrival of two great pleasures in Johannesburg: the much anticipated warm lift of spring, and the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival, which brings plenty of songbirds flying in to perform at the Sandton Convention Centre between September 24 and 26.
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 59
left: Dee Alexander. Photograph by Jim Newberry below: Simphiwe Dana right: Cassandra Wilson. Photo Mark Seliger
s always, the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz promises
vocalist who is already being lauded as a major star of the
to field any amount of established heavyweights
genre. Each time she steps up to the microphone, both the
and thrilling new talent in its line up, which
past and the future of jazz singing are invoked.
takes to the Dinaledi, Diphala, Conga and Mbira
Salvant won first prize in the Thelonious Monk
stages over three days near the end of September. The on-
International Jazz Competition in 2010 and won four
going growth of this annual jazz highlight recently saw the
categories in the 2014 Downbeat Critics Poll: Jazz Album
event being relocated to the Sandton Convention Centre, in
of the Year, Female Vocalist, Rising Star – Jazz Artist and
order to accommodate the more than 20 000 concert goers
Rising Star – Female Vocalist. She was also nominated for a
from across the globe who are drawn by a host of South
Grammy Award in 2014 for her album WomanChild. ‘Cécile
African, African and international jazz stars.
McLorin Salvant has just exploded onto the scene’, said
As August is, of course, Women’s Month, we thought
Downbeat’s publisher Frank Alkyer following her success.
this the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the great
‘We knew WomanChild was a great record, but had no idea
female performers set to sparkle this spring. One of these is
it would be honoured as Jazz Album of the Year. She’s going
French-American Cecile McLorin Salvant, a 28-year-old jazz
to be one of the most exciting acts on tour this year, too’.
60 / Creative Feel / August 2015
Audiences at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will be in the
the Year’ (Chicago Tribune, 2008) and ‘Jazz Entertainer of the
perfect position to put Alkyer’s claims to the acid test, when
Year’ at the Chicago Music Awards. Her 2009 album Wild Is
she steps onto the stage in September.
The Wind was rated five stars and named one of the Top Ten
Also from the United States, Dee Alexander sets a
recordings of the new millennium by Downbeat Magazine.
standard against which many of her generation of jazz
However, in spite of extensive critical acclaim throughout
singers measure themselves. Her Chicago background means
much of her career, Alexander has remained fairly low-profile;
she is equally at home with blues, soul and gospel music.
her ‘break-out moment’ is said to have come only as recently
However, her true musical home is jazz. This is evident
as 2013, when the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff described one
in the work she does when she leads her straight-ahead
of her performances as ‘both low key and extraordinary, with
quartet, as well as the more exploratory Evolution Ensemble,
well-worn standards and risky originals, earthiness and high-
an acoustic group comprising string instruments and
flown mysticism,’ and went on to call it one of his ten best
percussion, with a strong emphasis on original compositions.
live-music experiences of the year.
Alexander has racked up any number of accolades over the years, including ‘Jazz Vocalist of the Year’, ‘Chicagoan of
Another great female act destined for Joy of Jazz hails from closer to home: Mozambican-born songstress Wanda
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 61
Cecile McLorin Salvant
Baloyi, once known for her work as part of the popular
with her first musical influence, namely her father Jaco
girl group Ghetto Luv, has netted both Metro FM and
Maria. Maria was lead vocalist of 1980s band Ozil, whose
KORA awards, and has four solo albums to her credit. The
hits included the chart-topping ‘I’m Suffering’, and later of
most recent of these, entitled Love and Life, took home
Loading Zone. He has a number of solo albums to his name,
the Metro FM Award for Best Urban Jazz; Nonkululeko
and has performed with some of the world’s greats. As a
Khumalo described the album as being ‘like a cool breeze
child, Wanda Baloyi often went along to watch her father
in a heat wave. This woman stands head and shoulders
play; now the duo take to the stage together, and the familial
above singers, and proves she’s a real musician. This is her
bond of father and daughter should make for a thrilling
year to shine... It’s about time everyone recognised the
talented Wanda Baloyi.’ Baloyi’s performance at the Joy of Jazz this year will be specially marked by a never before seen collaboration
62 / Creative Feel / August 2015
While these are a few of the leading ladies to look out for this year, there are plenty of other excellent performers to look out for. These include Xhosa singer-songwriter
Dee Alexander Band
Simphiwe Dana – sometimes described as the ‘new Miriam
Mtukudzi, Matthew Halsall, Dwight Trible, William Parker,
Makeba’– who should need little introduction to Creative
and this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist Nduduzo
Feel readers, having appeared in these pages following the
Makhathini - among many others - and the forthcoming Joy of
release of some of her multiple award winning albums.
Jazz looks set to put a spring in the audience’s step.
Also worth mentioning is Estelle Kokot, who went solo
The 2015 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz is produced by
following national success with the band Rush Hour and
T-Musicman and presented by Standard Bank, in association
has subsequently built up a reputation as a well respected
with the Department of Arts & Culture and Gauteng Province.
presence on the London Jazz scene, with a number of solo
Standard Bank has recently renewed its commitment to jazz by
albums to her credit. (The Guardian describes her as ‘a
signing a new three-year sponsorship agreement with Africa’s
powerful, soulful and independent artist’).
premier jazz festival, Joy of Jazz. This will extend its 16-year
Add this to a line-up that also features the likes of Marcus Miller, Yellow Jackets, Hugh Masekela and Oliver
relationship with the festival, and ensure that the arrival of spring continues to be greeted with particular joy by jazz fans. CF
The Last Attitude A collaboration between Nelisiwe Xaba and Mamela Nyamza (or NelMa) saw the two talented dancer/choreographers take to the National Arts Festival stage in Grahamstown recently in a piece that, true to form, challenged, questioned and subverted.
64 / Creative Feel / August 2015
he ballet audience walks into the Rhodes Box
territorial lines. Their attitude to the performance seems
Theatre to a stage stripped of its usual wings
resigned to the repetition of mere action: the lines they draw
and concealed lighting rig. In ballet, an attitude
are as they have always been and always will be in ballet;
is a position that varies depending on the body’s
in the country and the history of the world. The concluding
relation to the audience. Technically, it stands on one leg
attitude is also the previous attitude of humanity’s culture in
with the other raised behind it. It is the image of vital balance
positioning bodies on the world’s stage. With an obvious play
that holds the moment just before a dancer lifts toward the
on the word attitude, the performance approach created by the
heavens. In The Last Attitude, this expectation that sees dance
two female soloists – who meet in an exciting collaboration –
spectators holding their breath as they ready themselves
is a laissez faire dance of the masculine stance. It is subversive.
to gasp at the prowess of potential flight is subverted. The
It is silent protest. It is naked.
Last Attitude is a solemn and strange anti-climax. The final attitude initiates the performance as the dancers are
Not only is the space stripped of its familiar trappings but so are the dancers. Xaba and Nyamza strip off their
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 65
clothes immediately when the auditorium lights dim
something’. The work definitely touches on the politics of
and reveal male vests and briefs. Nyamza says that this
body positioning in a number of ways. Hanging – headless
was significant in their challenge to the audience, ‘No
– above the dancers in a line at the back, are tan, topless,
music was to actually strip it. We had to be the music’.
plastic mannequins dressed in romantic white tutus. They
Challenging themselves as dancers, in turn, they moved
decorate the silent stage as the two female performers
very slowly as they displayed their roles as line-makers on
present themselves as males would at the end of a ballet;
stage. ‘For us it’s also slow but it annoys the audience more.
showing that they have no weapons concealed and bowing
It’s about breaking the norm!’ Nyamza exclaims with her
to show that their necks may be chopped off if the ruling
awkward laugh punctuating the dissident statement. The
authority is displeased.
opening of the defiant dance actually annoyed audiences
As they carry a retinue of white girls for the corps de
so much that on one evening at the National Arts Festival
ballet to complete the absent frame of the stage by lining
2015 (NAF), two audience members walked out. For
them up on either side of the stage so that they seem to
Nyamza, this means that she and Xaba ‘have triggered
also complete the line created by the hanging mannequins,
66 / Creative Feel / August 2015
they make noises. The sounds are the unheard difficulties
herself when asked if she is an activist artist, ‘I don’t feel I
of ballet men as physical carriers of the women. They
need to have a label put to my name: I am.’
pick the corps girls up as people would in everyday life so
In the same vein, Xaba has no qualms with recognising
that the weight of the lifts is stressed. The girls tan tops
herself as a feminist. ‘I think I have to be a feminist.
make it seem as though they could be topless just as the
Somewhere feminism feels like it was something that
mannequins are and they are manipulated as if they are
happened in the ‘60s… But, actually everyday should be a
living dolls to be positioned as decoration on stage. With
protest day.’ Having grown up in the ‘80s she is also aware
male jackets on now, Xaba and Nyamza’s naked breasts
that racial politics tie into the protest. So that when the
are covered but they still wear earrings so that it is not an
all white corps of women-made-objects actually contains
easy suspension of disbelief. They want the audience to
two black girls whose faces are crudely powdered white it
remember that they are female. And, while this also fits to
is clear that The Last Attitude is also about how, as Xaba
play with the sense of the feminised in male ballet dancers,
previously put it, ‘What our grandparents fought for is not
all of the categories are disrupted. As Xaba has said of
yet gone.’ CF
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 67
Pure Bliss A full-service destination spa is the latest addition to Johannesburg’s most iconic hotel, Four Seasons The Westcliff.
ffering innovative, results-driven spa therapies
Generous hydrotherapy facilities – saunas and steam
and authentic spa rituals – many of them
rooms, ice fountains, a Jacuzzi, and an outdoor, 25-metre,
reflective of its vibrant, urban locale – the brand-
heated lap pool – are set to attract not only hotel guests to
new, 1 200-square metre spa takes full advantage
the spa but discerning city residents too.
of its elevated position overlooking the forested northern
Complementing the spa is the street-level Westcliff Deli,
suburbs of Johannesburg. There are nine treatment rooms,
the perfect spot for meeting friends for lunch or simply
one of which is a spacious double suite. Some have floor-to-
to enjoy a freshly pressed organic juice or locally roasted,
ceiling glass windows that slide away seamlessly to merge
artisanal coffee. Together with its exclusive address in the
the indoors with the outdoors. The panoramic views also
historic neighbourhood of Westcliff and easy street-level
inspired Après Spa, a rooftop lounge for outdoor relaxation.
access, the spa is the ultimate urban sanctuary for anyone
As the world’s largest spa operator, Four Seasons places great emphasis on service excellence while curating spa experiences with a distinct sense of place.
68 / Creative Feel / August 2015
wanting to escape for a couple of hours or an entire day. Director of the spa, Julanda Marais, originally from South Africa’s Karoo region, is a Four Seasons’ veteran
every beauty editor,’ comments Marais, who is delighted to have the highly regarded brand as one of the spa’s two signature ranges. The second signature range is Terres d’Afrique, a pure, certified organic range developed in South Africa using advanced phyto technology. Inspired by traditional uses of antioxidant-rich African plants such as Rooibos, baobab, buchu, and Kalahari melon, Terres d’Afrique captures a passion for the healing power of nature and for discovering Africa’s fascinating plants and people in remote places. In Johannesburg, Terres d’Afrique is exclusive to the Four Seasons Spa and has been incorporated into a
having recently opened the Four Seasons Spa in Geneva,
number of authentically African signature treatments.
Switzerland. She describes the new spa as a full-service
The Gold of Mapungubwe, one of three 90-minute rituals,
destination spa with a handpicked menu of meticulously
harnesses the anti-ageing, healing properties of pure
executed treatments and rituals for the body and face using
baobab oil and natural salt from the Mapungubwe salt
two world-class spa brands.
pans to polish the body. This is followed by a balancing
Biologique Recherche, a French biological skin care
and detoxifying massage to increase circulation, release
range with a track record of over 30 years, makes its debut
muscle tension and hydrate the skin leaving it deliciously
in South Africa at the Four Seasons Spa. Packed with
soft and subtly perfumed.
high concentrations of pure, raw botanical, marine and
It is highly recommended to book spa treatments well in
biological extracts, the range has a remarkable reputation
advance, either via telephone +27 (0)11 481 6450 or email
for restoring and protecting the skin in combination with
email@example.com. The full spa menu is
a unique skin-diagnosis system. ‘Specific products from
available on the hotel’s website
this hard-working range are in the little black book of
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 69
A selection of titles from international and South African publishers
Through the Woods By Emily Carroll Publisher: Faber & Faber ISBN: 9780571288656 Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to ‘Our Neighbor’s House’ – though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in ‘A Lady’s Hands Are Cold’. You might try to figure out what is haunting ‘My Friend Janna’, or discover that your brother’s fiancée may not be what she seems in ‘The Nesting Place’. And of course you must revisit the horror of ‘His Face All Red’, the breakout webcomic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page. Already revered for her work online, awardwinning comic creator Emily Carroll’s stunning visual style and impeccable pacing is on grand display in this entrancing anthology, her print debut.
Dub Steps By Andrew Miller Publisher: Jacana ISBN: 9781431422203 Dub Steps has a strange long aftertaste.
Power Play By Mike Nicol Publisher: Umuzi, an imprint of Penguin Random House ISBN: 9781415207314
Best White and Other Anxious Delusions By Rebecca Davis Publisher: Pan Macmillan ISBN: 9781770104150
It is science fiction with ordinary
Krista Bishop runs a security agency, for
Rebecca Davis has been described as one
characters trying to understand
women only. Until she gets a call she can’t
of the funniest writers in South Africa
what it is to be alive. People have
refuse from the government spooks: guard
today. Her razor-sharp wit combines
gone, suddenly, inexplicably, and the
two high-profile Chinese businessmen.
with her acute powers of observation to
remaining handful have to find each
What Krista isn’t told is that the Chinese are
produce social and political commentary
other and start again. They wrestle
mopping up the richly rewarding abalone
that will have you in stitches even as
with identity, race, sex, art, religion
poaching business. A takeover that will kick
it informs and provokes you to think
and time, in a remarkably realistic
three Cape Town gang lords – known as the
seriously about the topics she discusses.
way. Nature comes back, Johannesburg
Untouchables – out of business and destroy
In Best White, Davis offers advice on
becomes wonderfully overgrown and
their luxury lifestyles. No longer untouchable,
life’s tricky issues; discusses the perils
the small group of survivors have to
gang boss Titus Anders fears for the life of his
of being a ‘Best White’; laments the fact
find ways of living with their own
daughter and calls in Krista Bishop to protect
that society does not have a universally
flaws and the flaws of each other. The
her as a gang war ignites. Krista is the best.
adopted form of greeting, such as the
aftertaste comes from the surprisingly
She’s young, tough and a long way from the
high five; explores the intricacies of social
real meditations in the middle of the
violence of the streets. Or is she? The war
media and internet dating; considers the
end: after all simulated reality has
is everywhere. And there is a secret agent
future of reading and tackles a range of
gone, what human reality is left?
waiting for her, with a gun in his hand...
controversial topics in between.
70 / Creative Feel / August 2015
CDs & DVDs The latest releases to suit all tastes
Covered Robert Glasper Blue Note Records 0602547245700 Following the breakthrough commercial and critical success of his two GRAMMY-winning R&Boriented Black Radio albums, Robert Glasper returns to his acoustic jazz roots with Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios). The album reunites Glasper with bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid, reforming the trio that created his first two Blue Notes releases, Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007). Covered, which was recorded before an intimate gathering of invited guests in Capitol Records’ historic Studio A, was designed to bring Glasper’s newfound Black Radio fan base along as he returned to the jazz fold. The set list features songs by hip-hop and R&B stars like Kendrick Lamar, Musiq Soulchild, John Legend, and Bilal alongside the jazz standard ‘Stella By Starlight’. Displaying his trademark eclecticism, Glasper also includes tunes by Radiohead and Joni Mitchell, along with a stirring collaboration with legendary singer/ activist Harry Belafonte. The Glasper originals on the album include a re-working of ‘I Don’t Even Care’ which was a bonus track on Black Radio 2 featuring Macy Gray and Jean Grae.
Passion World Kurt Elling Concord Jazz 0888072368415
Cheek to Cheek Live! Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Interscope Records B00P4IN10O
Bach Joshua Bell Sony Masterworks 88843087792
Passion World, Kurt Elling’s latest project,
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek
Joshua Bell is renowned for his expressive,
culminates nearly five years of collecting,
to Cheek Live! is an American concert
elegant, intelligent playing and his deep
honing – and in some cases writing anew
television special featuring live
commitment to bringing the classical
– songs of love and heartbreak from three
performances by Tony Bennett
tradition to wider audiences. Over the past
continents. With special guests that include
and Lady Gaga in support of their
three decades he has recorded more than 40
Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, French
collaborative studio album, Cheek to
albums including most of the great violin
accordionist Richard Galliano, German
Cheek, released in September 2014.
repertoire. Now, Bell has for the first time
trumpeter Till Brönner, and Scottish
It was held at the Rose Theater of
recorded the masterpieces of J.S. Bach with
saxophonist Tommy Smith, Elling and his
Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts
the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. In his
road-tested quintet present material from
in July following the announcement
third season now as their music director, Bell
countries as far-flung as Brazil and Ireland,
of the album’s release. Bennett and
performs Bach’s sublime Violin Concertos
Iceland and France. Throughout his travels,
Gaga performed a total of 13 songs
No. 1 and No. 2, along with a never-done-
Elling has observed how our identical
from the album, including the number
before ‘violin and orchestra’ arrangement
human passions are shaped in myriad ways
one singles on Billboard ’s Jazz chart
of the famous Chaconne from the Partita
by each unique culture, and has used that
‘Anything Goes’ and "’I Can’t Give You
No. 2 (adapted from Mendelssohn’s piano
insight to create an album vibrant with
Anything but Love’. The DVD reached
accompaniment), the Gavotte en Rondeau
diversity and variety – the most ambitious
the top-ten of the record charts in
from Partita No. 3 for solo violin (using
project yet from the preeminent male
many countries, reaching number one
Schumann’s accompaniment), and the
vocalist in jazz.
in the US and Belgium.
universally beloved ‘Air on the G string’.
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 71
Mr Holmes Director: Bill Condon Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada Mr Holmes is a new twist on the worldâ€™s most famous detective. 1947, an aging Sherlock Holmes returns from a journey to Japan, where, in search of a rare plant with powerful restorative qualities, he has witnessed the devastation of nuclear warfare. Now, in his remote seaside farmhouse, Holmes faces the end of his days tending to his bees, with only the company of his housekeeper and her young son, Roger. Grappling with the diminishing powers of his mind, Holmes comes to rely upon the boy as he revisits the circumstance of the unsolved case that forced him into retirement, and searches for answers to the mysteries of life and love â€“ before itâ€™s too late.
AT CINEMAS 28 AUGUST 2015
encore earth beneath the rock, then the poet’s country, then the planet, until… It reminds me of the power of the arts and the power of honing one’s skill and talents.
Name one artist you would love to meet. Sting (Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner) or Youssou N’dour, I would like to have them over for coffee in my home in artistic and activist guise.
What are you reading at the moment? The Lost Kingdoms of Africa by Gus Casely-Hayford, it reminds me of the great African Empires and the greatness that lies ahead for Africa.
What is in your car’s CD player? The production CD of the album titled Leeto, by Neno (unreleased), an 80-year-old Sotho female musician. This woman is like the Bi Kidude (a famous traditional woman musician of Tanzania) of South Africa.
Andre le Roux, Managing Director of the SAMRO Foundation, serves on the boards of Business and Arts SA, Music in Africa, the University of Stellenbosch Music Centre, the UNISA Music Foundation and Kuns Onbeperk, which runs the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival. He describes himself as a committed and passionate arts activist who is forced to work for a living, loves building cultural institutions, and loathes the current state of the arts and state of the State. Name three artworks that you love and why.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would become a little more Zen.
How have the arts industries in South Africa changed over the last ten years? I think we are experiencing a wealth of tiny cultural explosions all across the country, with niched arts events, food trucks and little pop ups. South Africans are starting to discover little gems in their own backyards in our cities and little dorpies and it’s very exciting if you only look a little deeper.
Judith Mason – The Man Who Sang and the Woman Who Kept Silent
Name one thing you think would improve the arts and culture industry in South Africa.
(1998). This piece was inspired by two stories Mason heard on
If the State and Business understood the importance of the arts.
the radio at the time of the Truth and Reconciliation hearings. They told of the execution of two liberation movement cadres by
What is your most treasured possession?
the security police. One was Harold Sefola, who as Mason relates,
My family. Then my two Jezebells - motorcycle and pool cue.
‘asked permission to sing “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”’ before he was electrocuted; the other was Phila Ndwandwe, ‘who was tortured
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
and kept naked for ten days’ and then assassinated in a kneeling
When someone I love is hurting and I can’t fix it
position. As the TRC found, before Ndwandwe was killed, she ‘fashioned a pair of panties for herself out of a scrap of blue plastic.’
What is it that makes you happy?
This moved Mason to make a dress of blue plastic bags, inscribed
Good times, good art, especially music with family and close friends.
with: ‘Sister, a plastic bag may not be the whole armour of God, but you were wrestling with flesh and blood, and against powers, against
Describe a defining moment in your life.
the rulers of darkness…’
The loss of my mother, Cynthia Valery le Roux and my mentor
Sting – ‘Fragile’. The song is a tribute to Ben Linder, an American
Doreen Mteta, and getting fired for the first time.
civil engineer who was killed by the Contras in 1987 while working by the death of an innocent man who was mistaken for an enemy
What projects will you be busy with during 2015 and into 2016?
and killed, when all he actually wanted was to help. Sometimes I
SAMRO Foundations Music Education, Concerts SA, our Music
think that will be me and it reminds me that as we focus on the big
Archive revamp, and a range of projects with the different boards
challenges facing the world and our country, the big revolutions,
and organisations I work with.
on a hydroelectric project in Nicaragua. The song was inspired
there is the fragility and frailty of individual human life that affects us all. ‘Lest we forget how fragile we are…’ NP Van Wyk Louw – ‘Die Beiteltjie’. Van Wyk Louw is one of the
Name one goal you would like to achieve in the next twelve months.
most distinguished Afrikaans poets. ‘The chisel, a metaphor for the
Learning to find more of me and what I do and making time
poetic word – splits a stone, then the rock under the stone, then the
Creative Feel / August 2015 / 75
A MAESTRO IN THE MAKING. Buskaid was founded in 1997 to provide all township children with the opportunity to channel their creative drive into learning and playing classical music to the highest international standards. The Buskaid Ensemble has an enviable reputation, having performed before two former South African presidents, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and senior members of the Royal Family, and the First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama. Redefine Properties is a proud sponsor of Buskaid and shares its vision and objectives. We wish them many encores.
Jaco van Schalkwyk's installation is featured on the cover of this issue of Creative Feel. Read more about the Barclay's L'Atelier inside.
Published on Aug 1, 2015
Jaco van Schalkwyk's installation is featured on the cover of this issue of Creative Feel. Read more about the Barclay's L'Atelier inside.