Lorin Sookool Photo: Gerome Stoffels, courtesy of ICA LIVE ART Festival

The Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) launches Africa's leading performance art festival, the international ICA LIVE ART Festival, from September 1 to 16.

Returning to Cape Town for its fourth anniversary, the ICA LIVE ART Festival showcases a gathering of some of the most influential artists from across the continent and around the world. 

Expanding the public consciousness and disrupting artistic boundaries and public spaces throughout the Mother City, the festival welcomes an explosion of performances that are free of charge to all.

This year the ICA LIVE ART Festival delivers an ambitious collection of over 40 works for the public to feast on –  including works of visual art, dance, music and literature – in a diverse and provocative programme that will take audiences on a performative journey across Cape Town.

With a focus on the development and histories of live art, the 2018 festival features a number of artists who connect contemporary live art with classical African tradition, reminding audiences that the presence of live art on the African continent long predates the coinage of the term in the West. 

Visual and performing arts and traditional practices intersect with some of the most significant social and political themes of our time, challenging our experience of live art and opening up a space for dialogue.

The free and public nature of the ICA LIVE ART Festival is vested in a commitment to the value of contemporary live art as a means of facilitating encounters that encourage people to think and feel about a range of important issues in new and different ways.

ICA director and associate professor at UCT Jay Pather said: “The struggle for intimacy and identity in today's world is apparent all around us, and this year's ICA LIVE ART Festival speaks to this struggle, grappling with some of our deepest ideas, fears and visions of what society is and could be. 

“As a global community, there is an urgency to rethink and reimagine our strategies for surviving continued pervasive crises that confront our natural environment, political stability and social relations.

“The ICA LIVE ART Festival prompts us to see and think differently, offering audiences the tools to ditch their discretion and free their imagination.

"We invite the people of Cape Town to join us in experiencing this powerful array of experimental and often transgressive artworks in the risk-taking, non-commercial environment that the festival provides." 

The ICA LIVE ART Festival performances will tour across public venues in the Mother City: from UCT to the Iziko South African National Gallery, Iziko South African Museum and Iziko Planetarium, Zeitz MOCAA, Luxurama Theatre, Maitland Institute and various spaces in the city centre, such as the Cape Town Train Station, the Company's Garden, the Castle of Good Hope, Erf 81, and the Central Library. 

The 2018 programme features screenings, performances, artworks and interactive installations by over 50 contemporary artists.