Athi-Patra Ruga’s latest art shows ‘Azania’ without a purpose

Mail & Guardian | Athi Mongezeleli Joja:


Athi-Patra Ruga’s National Arts Festival show brings to mind a neo-avant-gardist catwalk display or an opening act for Lady Gaga, writes Athi Joja.

It is a Saturday, July 4, at the National Arts Festival. The infamous wintry cold of Grahamstown is conceding to the lukewarm sunshine. 

An image from the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Performance Art winner, Athi-Patra Ruga’s ‘The Elder of Azania’. (All photographs Charles Harry McKenzie)

We are on the mountaintop of the 1820 Settlers National Monument overlooking the town. Desolation lurks on the colourful but opaque edge of the city, where darkies are domiciled. And, today, black children with white painted faces, mamas in traditional clothing and others prowl and prance for a predominantly white audience. They are enchanted…


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