|In all its forms, love is indeed a many-splendoured thing. True to form, UJ Arts & Culture: Advancement has chosen the opportune date of 14.02 as the platform to rethink and reinvent 2014 with the announcement of their Annual Programme:|
|2014/02/13 06:00 PM|
“Plato called it the driving power of the soul; the quest for beauty, good and god. For the Romans these gods were Venus and her blonde, blue-eyed son, Cupid armed with his quiver of amorous arrows. The Greeks called them Aphrodite and Eros.” Ashraf Johaardien at the head of UJ Arts & Culture is talking about love as he announces UJ’s multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted and multi-plural annual arts programme entitled “R℈VO⅃UTION MMXIV.”
“Taking its cue from UJ’s “Rethink. Reinvent.” the programme is not only a celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa but also a meditation on the ideas and ideals of freedom from a global perspective,” explains Johaardien. “What we have tried to achieve is a platform for creative expression as well as a framework for rigorous dialogue. Cutting across disciplines; our modalities are diverse and R℈VO⅃UTION MMXIV is the culmination of several months of conversations, careful research and fierce deliberation with UJ’s Arts & Culture creative team.”
According to UJ curator, Annali Dempsey, along with a line-up of world-class exhibitions, student enrichment is a key focus of the visual arts component. “Skills development will intersect with the improvement of the physical campus environments in the form of a functional concrete and mosaic furniture project encouraging voluntary student participation on all four campuses,” she says. In addition, specific exhibitions are targeted for student participation through walkabouts, lectures, workshops and mentorships. Featured artists include William Kentridge, Sandile Zulu, Georgia Papageorge, Wim Botha, Diane Victor, Mbongeni Buthelezi and Clive van der Berg. Curators, Baylon Sandri, Nessa Leihammer, Professor Karen von Veh and Gordon Froud also contribute.
The UJ Choir repertoire for “R℈VO⅃UTION MMXIV” includes works of contemporary international composers such as Lauridsen, Joshua Shank, Ivo Antognini, as well as young and upcoming South African choral composers such as Franco Prinsloo and Niel van der Watt. A strong African flavour will be added by fundis Sidumo Jacobs, Zwai Bala and others to ensure variety and inclusion of styles. The Unijoh Chorale based on the Soweto campus complements the Kingsway-based choir conducted by Renette Bouwer. Together they ensure that a range of events including graduations ceremonies, campus lunch-hour concerts and performances in the local community fly the orange flag. Workshops and shared concerts with international choirs promise to be highlights on the UJ cultural calendar. In addition, concerts by the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra and guests complete the music offering.
The best of local and international works feature in the line-up of productions for R℈VO⅃UTION MMXIV: from the French Revolution to Shakespeare resurrected and reinvented, works include an adaptation of Hamlet (presented in partnership with DALRO), Think Theatre’s “Othello” and more contemporary works like Robin Malan’s “The Boy Who Walked Into the World” and “What the Water Gave Me” by Rehane Abrahams which launches the UJ Experimental Theatre and the performing arts programme for R℈VO⅃UTION MMXIV in April.
Setting the stage for the biggest UJ inter-campus dance showdown with an open audition process running across all four UJ campuses, as well as gruelling mentorship and training workshops, is an exciting new dance project presented in collaboration with The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (UJ Arts & Culture’s Resident Professional Dance Company) which culminates in a sizzling finale event that promises to make the UJ student experience fiercer than ever. Themes of love and revolution also root the annual Izimbongi Poetry Festival spearheaded by the Doornfontien Campus-based Afro-Alphabets.
Performing arts producer Grace Meadows is particularly excited about the fourth instalment of #THATSOGAY which evolves into THATSO-LGBTI :: #TRANS* this year for “R℈VO⅃UTION MMXIV”. “Trans is an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum,” says Meadows. She explains that without the asterisk, it is best applied to trans men and trans women. “The asterisk makes special note in an effort to include all non-cisgender gender identities, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, genderf*ck, genderless, agender, non-gendered, third gender, two-spirit, bigender, and trans man and trans woman.” Full programme details for THATSO-LGBTI :: #TRANS* will be announced during the second semester of 2014.
Like romantic relationships which need more than the initial physical attraction in order to survive the rush of first falling in love, UJ Arts & Culture’s R℈VO⅃UTION MMXIV promises to provide a unique and multi-layered contribution to the myriad of voices and perspectives on democracy, freedom, transformation and our collective South African identity – irrespective of your race, religion or preferred gender pronoun.
Full programme details and event listings for R℈VO⅃UTION MMXIV will be published in UJ Arts & Culture’s internationally award-winning publication “Art Much?” in March.