Sustaining live art in Africa

Sustaining live art in Africa

16 Feb 2018 - 14:45
Live Arts Festival
Jelili Atiku at the ICA 2017 Live Art Festival. Atiku is billed to present his work Jangbala Jubu, or, How to Explain History to American President during the LANA symposium.

Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Ashley Walters.

UCT’s Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) hopes to establish a network for live art and artists across the African continent through the Live Art Network Africa (LANA), which launches at an event running from 17 to 20 February at Hiddingh Campus.

From the works of Nigeria’s Jelili Atiku, who recently performed at the Venice Biennale, to that of the collective iQhiya at the 2017 documenta, Africa’s live art is increasingly renowned.

“Much live art is also characterised by opacity – on first viewing, performances often appear inaccessible and enigmatic,” writes the ICA.

“And yet, live art has grown significantly on the African continent in the last 10 years, from collective actions of protest and dissent to works appearing in galleries and museums.”

What is striking about this form, in Africa, and at this time? What is its potential and its future? How can this form be sustained?

It is out of these questions, and this context, that LANA was formed.

Networking across Africa

“The ICA envisages LANA as an important step towards building sustainable infrastructures for the support of live art on the continent,” the ICA writes.

The symposium will feature performances, addresses, panel discussions and papers around some of the salient issues of live art. These are all open to the public, and include topics such as “Suppressed Histories and Speculative Futures” and “Loss, Language, Embodiment”.

Discussions will feature nationally and internationally acclaimed curators and artists, as well prominent academics who straddle the fields of art and academia, live art research and criticism.

These include: Panaibra Canda (Mozambique), Christian Etongo (Cameroon), Jelili Atiku (Nigeria), N'Goné Fall (Senegal), Laila Soliman (Egypt), Andrew Mulenga (Zambia), Wura-Natasha Ogunji (Nigeria), Mwenya Kabwe (Zambia/South Africa), Bernard Akoi-Jackson (Ghana), Massa Lemu (Malawi), Andrew Hennlich (USA) and from South Africa, Nomusa Makhubu, Sarah Nuttall, Dee Mohoto, Gabrielle Goliath, Nondumiso Msimanga, Bettina Malcomess, Katlego Disemelo, Alan Parker, Khwezi Gule, Same Mdluli and Catherine Boulle.

Works by Jelili Atiku, Bernard Akoi-Jackson, Panaibra Canda, Christian Etongo, Khanyisile Mbongwa, Dean Hutton, Chuma Sopotela and Lesiba Mabitsela will be performed over the course of the symposium.

“LANA will also be a platform for connecting artists and academics practising and researching in the interdisciplinary, disruptive field of live art,” the ICA continues.

It therefore includes a number of networking sessions (these are by invitation only), designed as spaces to discuss a vision for the network, and to plan for its future.