ICA Live Art Festival 2018

The Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) is proud to announce that the ICA Live Art Festival 2018 will take place from 1–16 September 2018. This interdisciplinary festival is designed to challenge and extend the public’s experience of live art in a non-commercial environment and make accessible the work of visual and performing artists who explore new forms, break boundaries, flout aesthetic conventions, tackle controversy, confront audiences and experiment with perceptions.

The Festival will feature works by, amongst many others, Nástio Mosquito, Albert Khoza and Robyn Orlin, Mamela Nyamza, Sue Williamson, Toni Stuart, Athi-Patra Ruga, Nelisiwe Xaba, FAKA, Sello Pesa, John Nankin, Ilze Wolff, Theo Herbst and Donna Kukama. The Festival is curated by Jay Pather with co-curators Nomusa Makhubu, Nkule Mabaso and James Macdonald.

The ICA Live Art Festival, which began in 2012, is presented this year on four platforms. The first, entitledTrajectories, will focus on the development of live art, comprising productions that emerge from different lineages. Several African artists connect contemporary live art with classical African tradition, reminding us that the presence of live art on the continent long predates the coinage of the term in the west. Albert Khoza, a powerful and distinguished new voice, teams up with one of the enduring names in performance art, Robyn Orlin, to present And so you see…our honourable blue sky and ever enduring sun…can only be consumed slice by slice….

Another collaboration by musician Mthwakazi and performance artist Sikhumbuzo Makandula revisits the Tiyo Soga songbook using isiXhosa oral tradition. Writer Bongani Madondo will present Zulu: Credo Mutwa’s Fantasia in Praxis, a performance lecture, in which Mutwa’s extensive legacy around Afrofuturism is ritualised and integrated with several musical forms, archival video footage and testimonies from a range of African scholars.

Death and Utopia (aka The Young Pioneers) will be presented by John Nankin, one of the founders of the 1980s avant-garde Glass Theatre – a seminal point of departure for much performance art in South Africa. Pumflet, co-founded by architect Ilze Wolff and artist Kemang Wa Lehulere in 2016, returns to the historic Luxurama Theatre in Wynberg, a key site in the social imagination of Cape Town, particularly with the enforcement of the  Group Areas Act. In an expansive processional performance across the city, Athi-Patra Ruga looks back on his legacy through numerous avatars and video projections in Things we lost in the Rainbow.

The second platform, Intimacies and Biography, considers intimacy and personal performative portraiture in the time of decolonisation. Headlining this platform is Museum of Lungs – a collaboration between Egyptian theatre director and playwright Laila Soliman, musician Nancy Mounir and South African artists Stacy Hardy and Neo Muyanga. Further works include Nomcebisi Moyikwa’s searing portrait Qash Qash, Sue Williamson’s 119 deeds of sale, and Yaseen Manuel’s personal response as a South African Muslim to the Syrian War, Aslama. Acclaimed writer Nick Mulgrew premieres biography and Mlondi Dubazane evokes a personal relationship with his father in Lapha. Alan Parker and Gerard Bester present their intimately constructed duet Sometimes I Have To Lean In, and invigorating poet Toni Stuart presents Papyllon with British choreographer Ella Mesma. Renowned performance art duo FAKA will present Factory, a performative installation inspired by The Factory, a queer sex club in Johannesburg.


Recognising the roots of live art in disruption, interruption and protest, the third platform, titled Actions and Activism, features curatorial fellow Greer Valley who will curate several works that emerged out of the Fees Must Fall protests. Nombuso Mathibela and Leila Khan will present Engaging the Archive: Creative Resistance Through Publication while Malawian activist and artist Catherine Makhumula presents Corner Street – a large-scale multimedia installation based on the lives of sex workers. Activism takes on different forms and contexts in Bag Beatings by renowned choreographer Sello Pesa; Black Privilege by National Arts Festival Featured Artist Mamela Nyamza; and Respectable Thief by Nástio Mosquito, which was originally commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art.

The fourth and final platform considers live art In the Time of the Anthropocene and includes Theatrum Botanicum by acclaimed Swiss artist Uriel Orlow. Works by Buhlebezwe Siwani, Zayaan Khan and Nathalie Mba Bikoro will be curated by ICA Curatorial Fellow Cornelia Knoll who explores the ‘politics of nature through the poetics of decolonial live art.’

The Festival will be hosted at the University of Cape Town’s Little Theatre Complex, Iziko National Galleries, and in various spaces in the city centre, such as the Cape Town Station, the Company’s Garden, the Planetarium and the Castle of Good Hope. Programme details will be published soon at www.ica.uct.ac.za.

Photo credits:
Albert ‘Ibokwe’ KhozaInfluences of a Closet Chant, ICA Live Art Festival 2014. Photograph by Ashley Walters.
Sikhumbuzo Makandula, Mzilikazi, 2018.
Sello Pesa, Bag Beatings. Photograph by Stella Olivier, courtesy of The Centre for the Less Good Idea.

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