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.

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