The Rebirth of IQHAWE

Oupa Sibeko and Nicola Pilkington

The Rebirth of Iqhawe is a short experimental dance film, exploring the potential to hybridise Sibeko’s Butoh-inspired performance practice into the film form: fragmenting, collaging and refiguring the body in time and space as a means to capture the corporeal expression of the movement. While by the modern Japanese movement practice of Butoh explores the connection of the body to mind and soul; the film attempts to channel the kinaesthetic energy of the body through the lens, the cut and the screen’s ability to bend time and space. The film is a direct response to Reeds of Iqhawe, Sibeko’s performance art and photographic series, exploring the body and its capacity for the sacred and the socio-political. By drawing on his seSotho ancestry and the Butoh movement practice, Iqhawe investigates the possibility of ceremonial and aesthetic fusion. Rebirth of Iqhawe premiered as part of an installation at the Wits Art Museum in 2017 and has been screened at film festivals around the globe, including the International Video Art House Festival in Madrid; Instants Vidéo Numériques et poétiques in Marseille; and the 6th International Meeting on Videodance and Videoperformance.

  • Genre: Dance, Film
  • Format: Video
  • Duration: 6mins
  • Language: Non-verbal
  • Ages: PG
  • Available From: June 29, 2020
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Concept: Nicola Pilkington and Oupa Sibeko
Performed: Oupa Sibeko
Videography and Edit: Nicola Pilkington
Score: Geoffrey Diver


OUPA SIBEKO (concept/performer):

Oupa Sibeko is an interdisciplinary performance artist, scholar and educator whose work deals with matter and politics of the body as a site of contested knowledge.

Last year, Sibeko was named as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans; recipient of the David Koloane award and Hendrik Grohs top 20 artists of the year. And he has been touring Europe with the experimental opera ‘Pygmalion/ L’Amour et Psyché’, choreographed by the incomparable Robyn Orlin.

Sibeko has closely collaborated with the likes of Albert Ibokwe Khoza, Fana Tshabalala and Benjamin Skinner, exhibiting his around South Africa at the RMB Turbine Art Fair, Spier Light Art, The State Theatre, The National Art Gallery of Namibia, Infecting the City, The Cape Town Holocaust & Genocide Centre, The Freezer in Iceland and more.

Sibeko’s most recent interrogations explore the ocean as a site of trauma, longing and resistance in ‘The Inland Sea’ and ‘Black is Blue’. Both performances are meditations on play, using improvisation and make-believe as modes of survival and ways in which people have historically recreated cultures through embodied, reflexive, and collaborative ways.

NICOLA PILKINGTON (concept/video and edit):

Born and bred in the boiling-pot Afropolitan of Johannesburg, Nicola Pilkington is a theatre-maker, filmmaker and educator with an interest in conscious collaborations.

Some of her notable projects include directing the Naledi-nominated version of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus which toured around Southern Africa, reaching up to 9500 audience members; and two recent film productions that were the Academy Award shortlisted nominations for foreign film: Inxeba and Knuckle City.

Nicola’s current vocation is to forge ways to hybridize her skills for storytelling on stage and screen simultaneously. This has manifested in projects like ‘Babylon Beyond Borders’, a simultaneous live performance over four stages around the world; a series of performance lectures with Mwenya Kabwe exploring the possibilities of performing African Futurism; and the film version of Swan Song, a translation of Buhle Ngaba’s one-woman show to also screen at the inaugural Virtual National Arts Festival.

Sibeko and Pilkington met while studying at Wits University in 2011, and have collaborated on several theatre and performance art projects; most notably ‘Rebirth of IQHAWE’.

Geoffrey Diver is a musician, sound artist, performing artist and illustrator. With a bent toward theatrical performance and narrative sound, his work often explores deep ocean space, environmental consciousness and shamanism.