12 Labours is an interdisciplinary performance project, comprised of twelve individual performative acts and public community interventions. The project reimagines the toxicity of conventional understandings of ‘heroism’ and ‘masculinity’ through the localising, adapting and queering of the classic Greek tale of “The Twelve Labours of Hercules”. 12 Labours features a group of queer artists-come-garden-gnomes, in collaboration with local artisans, civil servants, gardeners and contractors, who collectively perform a series of actions centred around notions of repair, community building, gratitude and transgressive joy.

Occurring from April to July 2022, across Makhanda, the twelve labours are presented simultaneously in a single space, throughout the festival. Audiences are invited to move through a multisensory journey of audio and visual documentations and the exhibited detritus of those labours that have already occurred, alongside the live performance of several labours by the artists (during the walkabout).

“There was a time when we needed heroes, but in a world ridded of magic, I propose a lawn of garden gnomes instead. A collective of ordinary queer people who approach acts of service as a kind of love language in an arguably corrupt capitalist economy. And in so doing, we hope to position performance art, as it is traditionally understood, as necessary labour and infrastructure for the public good – because we need performance art as much as we need roads, green spaces and walkways.” – Gavin Krastin


Sun Gallery, The 1820 Settler Monument



23 June – 03 June, 2022


Conceived and curated by Gavin Krastin

Dramaturgy by Alan Parker

Videography and photography by Evaan Jason Ferreira

Research Assistance by Julia de Rosenwerth

Production Management by Matt Short

Collaborators: Students of RU Drama Department, Makhanda-based artists, artisans, civil servants, contractors and gardeners.


Straddling the worlds of theatre, actionism and live art performance, Gavin Krastin is an interdisciplinary artist and arts educator with an interest in the body’s representation, limitation and operation in alternative, layered spaces. For Krastin the body is a tool for subversion, slippage and challenge. He performs, exhibits and teaches across South Africa and internationally. He also runs the Live Art Arcade, a nomadic pop-up performance assemblage for early career artists, and in 2021 he received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Performance Art.