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The works of a visionary

Arts Correspondent

The exhibition, Jackson Hlungwani - A New Jerusalem will open on 18 June at the UJ Art Gallery, University of Johannesburg Kingsway Campus, after a successful run at the Polokwane Municipal Art Museum in Limpopo. The exhibition, funded by the MTN SA Foundation, provides a retrospective overview of the legendary artistís sculptures, prints, tools, sacred New Jerusalem site, and philosophy.

Curator Anneli Cabano-Dempsey said all of the work on show was borrowed from public collections and individual collectors, who kindly contributed some of the most important pieces created during the artistís lifetime

Hlungwani is one of South Africaís most celebrated sculptors. During his life, and since his passing in 2010, this Limpopo artist has grown as a legend, not only because of his unique and powerful sculptures, but also because of his renown as a preacher and visionary,î she said.

Since the 1980s, his work has been exhibited in Europe and America, and is represented in major public and private art collections, nationally and internationally.

The exhibition was first conceptualised by Amos Letsoalo at the Polokwane Municipal Art Museum, and then developed by curator Nessa Leibhammer. 

It consists of some 40 artworks, artefacts and biographical photographs, providing a comprehensive overview of Hlungwaniís contribution to South African art,î Cabano-Dempsey said.

Visitors will be able to marvel at sculptures such as Leaping Fish, Double Fish, and Emperor Fish, as well as Godís Leg with Eggs, The Hand of God, and Christ Playing Football.

Cabano-Dempsey said the works will be complimented by large photographic images that show the world of Hlungwani as he carved, taught and inspired.

Also on exhibition is a visual pilgrimage through Hlungwaniís New Jerusalem site, comprising 40 never-before-seen photographs taken by architect Peter Rich in the early 1980s, as well as an annotated map of the site, drawn by Rich.î

The exhibition will be complimented by an educational programme for students, schools and communities. Jackson Hlungwani ñ A New Jerusalem will run between 18 June and 16 July at UJ Art Gallery, University of Johannesburg Kingsway Campus. For more info visit www.uj.ac.za

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Curtain rises at the Market's John Kani Theatre

Lusanda Zokufa

The Main Theatre of the Market Theatre has been renamed The John Kani Theatre. Affectionately known as the ëGodfather of South African theatreí this living theatre legend has demonstrated his passion and commitment to the Market Theatre Foundation, and to the South African performing arts sector.

He serves as Patron and Special Ambassador of the Market Theatre Foundation, and acted as its Managing Trustee in the 2000ís. However John Kani is primarily a multi award winning actor as well as a director and playwright.

John Kani was born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, in 1943, where he started his career with the Serpent Players Drama Group. John performed in countless plays over his 40 year theatrical career including Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island, which he co-wrote with Athol Fugard and Winston Ntshona and for which he won the 1974/75 Tony Award for Best Actor. John has also appeared in The Blood Knot, Driving Miss Daisy, The Native Who Caused All The Trouble, Othello, The Lion & the Lamb, Waiting for Godot, The Death of Bessie Smith, Playland, Duet for One, My Children My Africa (which won him an AA Life Vita Award in 1990 for his role as Mr M), Hedda Gabler, Dance of Death and the Shakespeare compilation Ladies and Gentlemen, Shakespeare! John has received two OBIE Awards in New York for his contribution to theatre in the world.

At the Market Theatre, John has directed Goree and Blues Africa Cafe by Matsamela Manaka, Kagoos by Kessie Govender and The Meeting by Jeff Stetson. In 1989, together with the late Barney Simon, co- founder of the Market Theatre, John established the Market Theatre Laboratory, which runs a drama school and a community theatre development programme for previously disadvantaged youth. The Laboratory is now a crucible of new talent and new South African works.

Market Theatre Foundation CEO Annabell Lebethe noted that John Kani is part of the fabric of the Market Theatre.
The Council saw fit to honour this doyenne of South African theatre at the institution that he has played such a crucial role in,î Lebethe added.


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Wits Theatre presents 969 festival line-up

Arts Correspondent

Just 2 days after the NAF closes, the 969 opens featuring 21 of the National Arts Festivalís hottest shows chosen from the Main and Fringe. 
  Running from 15-27 July at the Wits Theatre in Braamfontein, Joburgers can expect a Festival of superlative theatre with something for everyoneÖbig drama, side splitting comedy, breathtaking dance, world famous musos and visual- multimedia-physical theatre.
  Festival Director Gita Pather said: ìI am really proud of this lineup because itís a combination of tried and tested talent, alongside new work with brilliant up and coming talent. Wits Theatre is on a campus renowned for excellence and the 969 programme epitomizes that.î
  The Three Little Pigs, comes to Joburg for the first time, hot on the heels of 5-star reviews in Perth, Amsterdam and Edinburgh before it heads to New York in August. With Rob Van Vuuren, James Cairns & Albert Pretorius, this show sold out at NAF  in 2013 and promises to be a real highlight of the 969 Festival.
  Its director Tara Notcutt has also written and directed Last Rounds about finding love in a modern age. Love features again in Whistlestop with real life couple Jaques de Silva and Ameera Patel in a brilliant new play about the fear/excitement/uncertainty of meeting someone new. Written by Ameera Patel, this poignant funny, highly physical play is sure to strike a chord with audiences.
  Original Skin is Phillippa Yaa de Villiersís very personal exploration of apartheid, adoption and family ñ with a humorous twist.  The acclaimed poet who recently performed for the Queen of England brings storytelling, spoken word and mime together in this reflection on the human quest for belonging and family.
  In another very different take on understanding oneís place in the universe, The God Complex directed by Sylvaine Strike and featuring Daniel Buckland uses comedy and visual theatre to subvert the role of the supreme patriarchal figure into part bumbling scientist, part desperate showman and part loving but misguided father figure.  Amateur Hour! Directed by John Trengove and featuring Jemma Kahn & Glen Biderman Pam is a lurid but loving celebration of rank amateurism and the remote outer reaches of show business, where the ëshow must go oní regardless of whether it should.
  One show that must definitely go on is Jenine Collocottís  Hamlet, a  35 minute theatre-tonic that uses the secrets of the Commedia masters, the forces of physical theatre, improvisational powers, half-mask magic , amazing ënormalí language and a tip-top cast ñ this is Shakespeare on stylistic steroids!
  Maid in Mzansi is the official entry to the National Arts Student Festival and we are genuinely proud to showcase the extraordinary talents of student director Roberto Queiroz and cast who have created a thought provoking drama on the relationships that exist between the madams and their maids. Wits final year physical theatre students, Daniel Geddes and Mark Tatham, in their bid to step into the professional theatre industry, make their directive debut with the physical theatre piece, Ira. Both shows will be staged in The Nunnery.
  Ndihambile with choreography by Yuhl Headman and Sbonakaliso Ndaba of the Sibikwa Arts Dance Company offers a trio of work around the theme of journeys. There will be two performances in the Main Theatre on 25 and 26th July. Neither HEre nor there (and everythIng elSe) choreographed by Nadine Joseph coming off the Main stage of the NAF, deals with the transitory space of addiction. This dance work offers a multi-layered, dynamic envisioning of varied perspectives on addiction.
Nile is the result of a long collaboration between French/Swiss choreographers Laurence Yadi, Nicolas Cantillon - Compagnie 7273 and American guitarist Sir Richard Bishop.
  This piece aims to capture the undulating nature of the Nile River through a striking and moving combination of dance and music. It positions the river as a reservoir of imagination, rife with contradictions such as permanence and metamorphosis; fecundity and desert; physicality and spirituality.
  Fiddler in the Loop is Italian born violin wizard Luca Ciarla who owns the stage with his fiddle, an ocarina, and a few toy instruments. With a loop pedal he plays layers of music over each other, creating an astonishing orchestral texture creating unique sounds. Playing the violin like a guitar, cello or a percussive instrument, Luca sings, whistles, plays the ocarina and other little instruments; to create a dazzling solo violin orchestra.
  Saturday mornings will be devoted to childrenís theatre. Productions include Colours of the Rainbow with Princess and Frog, aimed at the 1-6 age group, a delightful not-quite fairy-tale where imagination transforms the everyday into the fantastic. This production invites the young and young at heart to come and hop, sing and dance with Princess and Frog as they learn the colours of the rainbow and make friends along the way. 
  Narrative Dreams is an evocative, thoughtful story about growing up, being alone and forging friendships. Aimed at 10+ audiences, the play takes us into the worlds of two young boys who want to be kings, like their namesakes ñ David and Morena. It is written by Lereko Mfono and directed by Omphile Molusi. Finally for the 15+ age group, we have the moving story of A Girl Called Owl starring Briony Horwitz and written by Jon Keevy.
  This play for older teens and adults is quality, thought-provoking theatre, looking at a young girlís experiences as she leaves behind childhood in a small town environment. This production received 5 star reviews at the Brighton Fringe Festival.

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