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Fine art travels to Soweto this weekend for the Soweto Art Cultural Festival, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday at the Eyethu Lifestyle Centre.
Eight artists have put together a collaborative exhibition called Risk More. But the festival is not only about fine art. There will be performances by the increasingly popular Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness, also known as BCUC, as well as musician and stand-up poetry performer Kgafela Magogodi.
He is inspired by African literature, history and ideology. His spoken word draws attention from African scholars and musicians such as Fela Kuti, Frantz Fanon and Lefifi Tladi. BCUC were invited to perform because of their socio- political relevance. Their music contains Afro beats infused with the spoken word.
On the decks will be DJs Romz de Lux and Thando.
The man behind this inaugural festival is internationally renowned artist Happy Dhlame. He said the fusion of music and art was important and obvious. But it was also important to take art to the township communities.
“We need to plough back into our communities,” explained the dreadlocked artist. “I am an artist who was raised in Soweto. I want to exhibit in Soweto because most exhibitions take place in the cities. Our communities need that cultural environment to instil confidence in themselves through the arts.
“The main purpose is to establish new methods and ways, not only to correct an existing perception about our local arts and lack thereof, but to further shape one’s identity.
“Through this festival we must make use of cultural differences as a tool to teach and learn about the arts.”
The festival is organised through his company, Linx, which he started with a fellow student while studying at Ecav Ecole Cantonal d’Art du Valais in Switzerland. Linx was formed in 2006.
“My fellow artist, Oliver Company, and I started Linx to form a cultural exchange, kind of like artists without borders. We focused on how to link Swiss and South African cultures in terms of promoting the arts.
“We had our first exhibition in Switzerland in 2006, showing South African and Swiss artists. After that we realised there is a bright future for artists who are willing to work with us, those who are not part of the main- stream gallery circuit.
“We are a voice for those artists who are not signed in galleries.”
This has now extended to unsigned musicians and poets in the Soweto Art Cultural Festival.
Doors open at noon. Live performances later in the day. Food and drinks will be on sale.