Artist Mandla Mbothwe work.
Artist Mandla Mbothwe work.

Culturally rich art event set to ’(Un)Infect’ the City

By Shanice Naidoo Time of article published May 5, 2021

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Cape Town - (UN)INFECTING” the City is set to take the streets, buildings, and billboards of Cape Town, with a free-to-the-public arts festival running from May 7 to June 30, 2021.

The longest-running public arts festival in South Africa, Infecting the City, renamed (Un)Infecting the City for this year, offers a opportunity to bring art, music, dance, and performance out of theatres and galleries, and into public spaces.

As South Africa grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, the fires in Cape Town and at UCT, this year’s (Un)Infecting the City will have a thematic focus on the psychological and social impacts of this time.

Director of the Institute for Creative Arts Jay Pather said: “The festival is dealing directly with pandemic issues, and a major concern is how to make its safe. With that in mind, the majority of the festival will be done online, and through video projections on billboards, so that people can see it from anywhere and do not have to gather in one location to view it.”

The works being showcased are a cross-sectional, about the pandemic and the land, body, resilience, and speak to the importance of healing.

The 2021 festival, presented by UCT’s Institute for Creative Arts (ICA), has updated its format to allow for social distancing.

In previous years, the festival has re-imagined transport and shopping hubs, squares, gardens, and public walkways, as transformative stages. It showcased an array of multi-disciplinary art forms, and created a platform for artworks that engage with historical and contemporary narratives, relevant to the city and its people.

Thania Petersen, a multidisciplinary artist, said this festival is one of the few gifts to the people.

“I love this festival and I am very happy to be part of it. It brings art onto the streets, it is so needed during this time,” said Petersen.

As a crowd-free event and taking place across multiple outdoor venues, (Un)Infecting the City also incorporates new digital and virtual elements, that can be experienced by anyone with access to the internet, and from anywhere – expanding the festival beyond the physical limits of Cape Town.

Comprising eight distinct programmes, (Un)Infecting the City offers culturally-rich opportunities, created by 50 different artists, that are entirely free to the public.

Weekend Argus

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