The works on the Curated Programme at this year’s National Arts Festival give a vivid, multi-textured impression of our complex local reality, writes Artistic Committee Chair BRETT BAILEY
The Curated Programme is the core of the Main Programme of the National Arts Festival. From the open call for works submitted for consideration, each of the five curators of the Artistic Committee have selected works they felt were strongest within their genre of specialisation.
A collective interrogation of this shortlist brought to the surface a compelling network of underlying themes with which our artists are engaging in 2018: personal narratives and untold stories, memory and heritage, intersectionality and gender, outrage and resistance, collaboration and the spirit of reaching out. We elected to encompass these threads within the frame of VOICES AND SILENCES, curating a body of work that spans and crosses the genres of theatre, visual art, film, dance, music and performance art.
Upon consideration of all the works tabled –and having consulted with the curators’ advisors to flesh out and deepen the thesis – the curators have composed a programme of works that they feel addresses the ‘now’ in South Africa. We believe these works are thought-provoking, of a high calibre, and – if explored in dialogue with one another – will give a vivid, multi-textured impression of our complex local reality through the lenses of our diverse artists.
Some pieces are provocative, pushing artistic boundaries; others pay homage to artists that have broken ground in the past. Some speak with fury or grief, potency or celebration, from intimate or community perspectives; others embrace a collective plurality of voices. Most of the featured artists call to us from the margins of society, from beyond the sanitised cultural mainstream. Alerting us. Reminding us. Cracking the stifling silence. They share with us memories and rites, hopes and inspirations, frustrations and pain, across the divides in this era of relentless noise.
BRETT BAILEY (left) is a South African playwright, designer, director, installation maker, as well as the artistic director of the performance company THIRD WORLD BUNFIGHT. His works include BIG DADA, IPI ZOMBI, iMUMBO JUMBO and ORFEUS (a reworking of Verdi’s MACBETH), and EXHIBIT B. He headed the jury of the Prague Quadrennial in 2011, and the International Theatre Institute’s ‘Music Theatre Now’ competition in 2015. From 2008–2011, he was curator of Cape Town’s public arts festival ‘Infecting the City’. In 2014, he wrote the International Theatre Institute’s World Theatre Day message for UNESCO.
Artistic Committee members
- DANCE: David Thatanelo April – David April, embracing dance in South Africa
- FILM: Dylan Valley – Dylan Valley, reimagining film in South Africa
- MUSIC: Samson Diamond – Samson Diamond, responding to SA’s cultural zeitgeist
- THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE ART: Lara Bye ‘Challenging works that speak to the times’
- VISUAL AND PERFORMANCE ART: Ernestine White Mifetu – Uncovering hidden narratives in (South) Africa
What is on the programme?
Main image: Cristian Newman, Unsplash
*Regrettably, AFRICAN EXPLORATIONS has been cancelled