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Creative Feel / August 2015 / 1

CHARLIE BRAVO #361-13


Congratulations to the Barclays L’Atelier finalists 2015


EDITOR’S NOTE

C

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.

Caroline Modiba.

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

Lore!


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PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lore Watterson; lore@desklink.co.za COPUBLISHER & PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Chris Watterson; chris@desklink.co.za DEPUTY EDITOR Tamaryn Greer; tammy@desklink.co.za FEATURES EDITOR Natalie Watermeyer; natalie@desklink.co.za SALES AND MARKETING EXECUTIVES sales@desklink.co.za sales@creativefeel.co.za BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Mariapaola McGurk; mariapaola@desklink.co.za SPECIAL PROJECTS Fiona Gordon; fiona@desklink.co.za DESIGN Mxolisi Gumbi; mxolisi@desklink.co.za FINANCIAL DIRECTOR Debbi Gregory; debbi@desklink.co.za RECEPTION Angelina Ramano DISPATCH Khumbulani Dube SUBSCRIPTION & CIRCULATION Debbi Gregory; debbi@desklink.co.za 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; nondumiso.msimanga@yahoo.com Ismail Mahomed; ismail@nationalartsfestival.co.za Michelle Constant; michelle@basa.co.za Indra Wussow; indra@syltfoundation.com


Cover image:

40

LIBERTY IN PARIS

Creative Feel caught up with Liberty Battson, winner

of last year’s Barclays L’Atelier competition,

cover story

mid-way through her six month stay in Paris.

48

YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE

42

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

contents 44

INTERESTING TIMES

‘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

this year.

the Ampersand Foundation in New York.

26

CINCINNATI

46

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

30

VIVA L’ATELIER

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

52

CRONUS COMPLEX

artists’ horizons.

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.

54

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

56

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.

62

lifestyle and entertainment 68 69 70

BOOK REVIEWS CD & DVD REVIEWS CINEMA NOUVEAU

contributors 16

ARTLOOKS & ARTLINES

Artlooks & Artlines is a monthly column

by Ismail Mahomed, Artistic Director of the

National Arts Festival.

THE LAST ATTITUDE

18

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

20

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.

contents 66

PURE BLISS

A full-service destination spa is the latest addition

to Johannesburg’s most iconic hotel, Four Seasons

The Westcliff.

LITERARY LANDSCAPES

Creative Feel / August 2015 / 11


CASTADIVA Boutique Hotel

Art, tranquillity and elegance

T

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

CHARISMA Restaurant

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

Functions

at R250 per person to enjoy in the Charisma Restaurant before the

Conferences

show. Dinner service will start at 18:00, and the performance will

Concerts

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 info@castadiva.co.za. 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 info@castadiva.co.za | 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.

T

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

Thembi Mtshali

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

Aviva Pelham

Creative Feel / August 2015 / 15


The Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble at the Linder, August 2015

T

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

N

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.

I

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

H

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

community protests.

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).

I

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,

with hope.”’

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

A

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


Mark Gräfin

BayreuthLitfass

Iwalewa

Parkes Wagner

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

local newspaper.

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

“museum-fication”.’

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.

S

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

Philharmonic Orchestra.

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

(performance), with

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)

Johannesburg-born

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 samrofoundation@samro.org.za or 011 712 8417, or visit http://www.samrofoundation.org.za.


Semi-finalists from the 2011 Scholarships Competition for Singers

Singers 2015

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 samrofoundation@samro.org.za or call 011 712 8417 www.samrofoundation.org.za

SAMRO Foundation

@SAMROFoundation


Cincinatti

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.

James Ngcobo

I

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.

S

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 marie@shakexperience.com. CF

Creative Feel / August 2015 / 31


Penny Siopis, Melancholia, Oil on canvas, 1986

Viva With 30 years now to its credit, the Barclays L’Atelier has an established history of broadening young artists’ horizons.

32 / Creative Feel / August 2015


Clive Van den Berg, Central Park Durban, Oil on canvas 1987

I

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

opportunities available.’

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.

like that.’

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

S

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

Gideon Appah

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.

Create. Prosper.


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.

O

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.

T

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

Luyanda Zindela.

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.

Z

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

R

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

different cultures.’

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 Feel’s Nondumiso Msimanga spoke to Jaco van Schalkwyk, the first Barclays L’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


A

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.

T

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: info@lizamore.co.za 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.

A

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.

Marcus Miller

Creative Feel / August 2015 / 59


left: Dee Alexander. Photograph by Jim Newberry below: Simphiwe Dana right: Cassandra Wilson. Photo Mark Seliger

A

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

musical chemistry.

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


T

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.

O

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

spa.johannesburg@fourseasons.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

www.fourseasons.com/johannesburg/spa. CF

Creative Feel / August 2015 / 69


Books

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 world’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 – before it’s too late.


7-9PG

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

for introspection.


e

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.

Profile for Creative Feel

Creative Feel August 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.

Creative Feel August 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.

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