Artist Nondumiso Msimanga models her ‘wedding’ dress made out of worn underwear on November 4, 2016
Artist Nondumiso Msimanga models her ‘wedding’ dress made out of worn underwear on November 4, 2016
Image: Daylin Paul

They've aired dirty laundry – literally – and been arrested for upsetting authorities. These are just a few of the artistic luminaries who will descend on the University of Cape Town for the first Live Art Network Africa symposium next month.

Some of the continent's top artists and academics from 12 countries will be in Cape Town for the four-day event‚ presented by the Institute of Creative Arts. The symposium will feature academic presentations‚ performances and networking sessions.

The participants' accomplishments include prestigious credits from Oxford University and the Guggenheim foundation. But they have also run into trouble for tackling controversial topics.

Nigerian artist Jelili Atiku was arrested in 2016 for a piece called Aragamago Will Rid this Land of Terrorism. He was acquitted a few months later.

WATCH | Jelili Atiku perform Aragamago Will Rid this Land of Terrorism

In 2016 South African artist Nondumiso Msimanga caused a stir with her exhibition SA's Dirty Laundry‚ which displayed 600 used pairs of underwear strung over 1.2 kilometers of washing line in Maboneng in Johannesburg. The aim of the exhibition was to spark a debate during 16 Days of Activism about "what rape in South Africa looks like".

That kind of thought-provoking work appears to be exactly what the Institute of Creative Arts hopes to highlight at the University of Cape Town.

According to a statement issued by the institute‚ live art was previously referred to as performance art. It "blurs the fields of fine art‚ dance‚ theatre‚ music and literature" and has grown considerably on the continent.

The institute's director and associate professor at the University of Cape Town‚ Jay Pather‚ said presentations and performances will be open and free to the public.

"Writers and artists will unpack the work of a wide range of practitioners – artists who are often barometers for social and political ideas – as well as the contexts that have given rise to their innovative‚ interdisciplinary practices‚'' Pather said in a statement.

“[Live Art Network Africa] acts as an impetus to undo the conventional ways in which we as the public operate‚ to demystify the codes of live art‚ and to develop lenses through which to better understand the metaphors and themes that live artists draw upon."

The event will take place between February 17 to 20.

The LANA 2018 programme features:

  • 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)

Some of the South African participants include:

  • Nomusa Makhubu
  • Sarah Nuttall
  • Dee Mohoto
  • Gabrielle Goliath
  • Nondumiso Msimanga
  • Bettina Malcomess
  • Katlego Disemelo
  • Alan Parker
  • Khwezi Gule
  • Same Mdluli
  • Catherine Boulle - TimesLIVE
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