Monday, June 24, 2013

Unclestouch A/W 13

Studio Jams by Unclestouch 

A soundtrack to a solo show - DOWNLOAD HERE 

Monday, May 20, 2013

THE FUTURE WHITE WOMEN OF AZANIA @ the 55th Venice Biennale .

Future White Women of Azania -  The Founding Myth

55th  Venice Biennale
2/3/4 June
20:15 – 21:00 pm , Campo dei Frari

The Future White Woman of Azania is an ongoing series of performances first conceived in 2010 and evolving to engage new definitions of nationhood in relation to the autonomous body.

In the enactment of the site-specific work commissioned for the 55th Venice Biennale, the performance takes the form of an absurdist funerary procession. The participants are the ABODADE - the sisterhood order of Azania and the central protagonist - The Future White Woman.

“Azania, as a geographic location, is first described in 1stCentury  Greek records of navigation and trade , The Peryplus of the Erythrean Sea  and is thought to refer to a portion of the East and Southern African coast. The word Azania itself is thought to have been derived from an Arabic  word referring to the ‘dark-skinned inhabitants of Africa.’

Azania is then eulogised in  the black consciousness movement as a pre-colonial utopian black homeland- this Promised Land, referenced in struggle songs, political sermons and African Nationalist speeches. In  Cold War  pop culture , Marvel Comics used  Azania as a fictional backdrop to a Liberation story that bares a close resemblance to the situation that was Apartheid in Old South Africa …  so it is at once a mythical and faintly factual place/state that this performance unfolds… Who are the Azanians for what it’s worth ?  It is in this liminal state that the performance unfolds…“

Seeking to radically reimage the potential of Azania and its inhabitants, the performance questions the mythical place that we mourn for and asks who its future inhabitants may be. Using the “Nation-Finding  language of pomp and procession” , Ruga proposes a bold and iconoclastic  break with the past Utopian promise of the elders and instead presents us with a new potential and hybridity . 

Artist Bio

Born – The Republic of Transkei [1984 ]
Lives and works in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Exploring the border-zones between fashioni , performance and contemporary art, Athi-Patra Ruga makes work that exposes and subverts the body in relation to structure, ideology and politics. Bursting with eclectic multicultural references, carnal sensuality and a dislocated undercurrent of humor, his performances, videos, costumes and photographic images create a world where cultural identity is no longer determined by geographical origins, ancestry or biological disposition, but is increasingly becoming a hybrid construct. A Utopian counter-proposal to the sad dogma of the division between mind and body, sensuality and intelligence, pop culture, craft and fine art, his works expresses the eroticism of knowledge and reconciles the dream with experience.

Recent exhibitions include: The Beautyful Ones , Nolan Judin Gallery , Berlin .Under a Tinsel Sun the main exhibition of the III Moscow International Biennale For Young Art; Making Way, in collaboration with Mikhael Subotzky National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa; Ilulwane, a solo performance at PERFORMA11 (NY) ,Beauty and Pleasure in Contemporary South African Art at the _Stenersen Museum_ in Oslo, Norway; the *Guangzhou Trienalle in China; Ampersand at the Daimler Collection (Berlin); A Life Less Ordinary - Performance and Display in South African Art, (UK); For Those Who Live in It - Pop culture Politics and Strong Voices, _MU_ (Holland); *Athi-Patra Ruga - The Works, Solo Exhibition at _FRED_ (London) and *Dak'Art - Biennale of African Contemporary Art (Dakar).

Athi-Patra Ruga was also recently included in the Phaidon book _'Younger Than Jesus'_, a directory of over 500 of the world’s best artists under the age of 33. His works form part of private public and museum collections here and abroad, namely: Museion - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bolzano Italy; CAAC - Pigozzi Collection; The Wedge Collection, Iziko South African National Gallery.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Procesion Begins - 17hr00 - Drill Hall , Twist Street , Johannesburg
Ends - 19hr00 - Standard Bank Gallery - cnr Simmonds and Frederich Str , Johannesburg .

For Immediate Release - 01/2012

Athi-Patra Ruga's performance,The Future White Women Of Azania, marks the culmination of a body of work that has been in development for a number of years. Initially created in 2010 for the “For Those Who Live in It - Pop culture Politics and Strong Voices” exhibition, hosted by the MU Art Foundation in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, the performance has since travelled to Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Grahamstown and Cape Town.

Much like a painter will use her studies to develop the final art work, Ruga has used the various performances as a performance-in-continuum to build the population of The Future White Women Of Azania. The original character, The Future White Woman Of Azania, performed for the first time, at the 2012 National Arts Festival, under this name, saw the artist create a procession through Grahamstown that was to be followed with a 19th century camera obscura, operated by collaborator, Mikhael Subotzky.  The performance created for the 2012 GIPCA Live Art Festival, The Future White Women of Azania : the manifesto, the balloon character was cloned and The Future White Woman of Azania became The Future White Women of Azania for a storefront performance within an installation.

The Future White Women of Azania - the procession – the performance to be staged for MAKING WAY: Contemporary Art from South Africa and China - will be the artist's most ambitious venture with the performance in terms of style and scale. The 4-hour performance begins with the ritualistic blowing of balloons and the dressing of the all 5 performers that make up the population of The White Women Of Azania thus far, the performance will culminate in a 60 minute procession from the Drill Hall on Plein St (site of the Rivonia Treason Trial) to the Standard Bank Art Gallery on Anderson St in the Johannesburg CBD. This is a continuation of the artist’s exploration alternative rituals as a means of intervention, something that is a huge influence also in each of the artist's performances. In creating these rituals, the artist performs a kind of Jacobinistic purge of the staid and unimaginative in all aspects of existence. This has been first evinced in the neon "manifesto", “Purge Your Elders”, that formed part of the performance installation of The Future White Women of Azania : the manifesto, performed for the GIPCA Live Art festival.
These performances are first and foremost an intervention. It is a way in which conflict is established through a miasma of stimuli. Here movement and non-movement, exoticism and mundanity, noise and silence, come together to challenge the rigid compartments within which we place them. It is also a confrontation of the politics of context, in that the art work is taken out of the sterile controlled gallery environment, and is exhibited in the most public way imaginable – right on the streets of the bustling city.

Map :

Thursday, January 10, 2013 conversation with I-HEART / CAPE TOWN .

Last month we had a lovely visit from the guys from I-HEART Magazine . They were doing an issue on whatitdid in the city I've been calling my home for the past four years ... the fairest Cape Town . I am so lucky to been ion the presence of people that i have worked with under the spirit of collaboration ... thinking of the Spoek Mathambos , KopeFiggins , Bee Diamondhead , Petit Noir , RhaRha Nembhard  et al . makes me wanna do this forever. now go get your copy. x apr and studio

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

DOMUS MIXTAPE #7 :. Athi-Patra Ruga X BLK JKS.

The ‘the sound of Johannesburg’ mixtape, a BLKJKSSNDSYSTM collaboration with Domus Magazine and Athi-Patra Ruga, is a real treat for anyone who likes to step off the beaten hype machine track. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Future White Women of Azania/ Live Art Review X Mary Corrigall

The Future White Women of Azania x Athi-Patra Ruga @ Live Art x Mary Corrigall
Cover Photo : Ashley Walters 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

...ilulwane 2011-2012 @ What If The World / Gallery .

Ilulwane Series I - 
Athi-Patra Ruga 2012
Archival inkJet print on Cotton Rag 
142 × 117 cm
courtesy of the artist and whatiftheworld/gallery