Beloved Country will feature a newly commissioned performance by South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga (Performa 11). The evening length celebration of South African art and culture will be led by the artist in the form of his latest avatar, Versatile Queen Ivy, yet another of the ever-growing characters that people his fictional utopia. Entering in procession from the streets of New York and unfolding with sound, video, song and dance throughout the night, the artist will weave gala activities into his scenography and choreography.
With sound design by producer and performer Angel-Ho, music by the rapper Dope St. Jude and a choir led by Vuyo Sotashe, an award winning jazz vocalist, expect an unforgettable performance and a lively night.
The performance’s title alludes to The Rainbow Nation, a name bestowed on post-Apartheid South Africa by Archibishop Desmond Tutu, which Ruga celebrates while also making references to the Wizard of Oz, alternative queer worlds, Xhosa culture and the existing racial tensions sugar coated by the term “rainbowism” in lieu of real societal transformation. Athi-Patra Ruga’s performance will culminate in a sonic revue of key South African cultural and musical movements from Kwaito in 1994, to Guz music, the New Rave scene, Shangaan, Electro, Gqom and the participatory political chants and songs of Umzabalazo (Freedom Songs) from the Apartheid and Must Fall eras.
- Athi-Patra Ruga, The Night of the Long Knives I, 2013. Courtesy of Whatiftheworld Gallery.