Überschwang in Afrika

This Friday, the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) launches a weekend-long festival of events, colloquia, performances and visual art titled The Exuberance Project. Convened by Michaelis lecturer Raél Jero Salley and GIPCA Director Jay Pather, this project is a central component of UCT’s Africa Month celebrations.

According to the project’s originator, Salley, The Exuberance Project will investigate “what is abundant, enthusiastic, overflowing, unrestrained and joyful in contemporary creative and performing arts of Africa.”

The project contests Africa’s historical representation in cultural discourses as perched on a threshold between inadequacy and potential. It also contests representations of Africa according to its deficits, political and economic problems, and deviance from European cultural conventions.

Das Exuberance-Projekt schlägt eine Trendwende bei der Umsetzung von allem vor, was aus dem afrikanischen Kontinent hervorgeht. Es umfasst Themen, die von Mangel zu Überfluss, von Afro-Pessimismus zu Überschwang, von Mythen eines dunklen und brütenden Kontinents zu lebendigem, dynamischem Realismus wechseln. Das Programm des Exuberance-Projekts umfasst ein Symposium, Podiumsdiskussionen, Performances, Ausstellungen und Filmvorführungen.

Salley explains: “Exuberance is an abounding, ebullient, effervescent emotion. But it is also a shining, flickering, fragile state”. He notes that despair has found more sympathy with artists and scholars than has joy, so the world Africans occupy is seen and described by a view that is relentlessly grim. Africa and its people fare poorly in representations from global media, academic scholarship, and creative production. The Exuberance Project hopes to encourage different views, generate new energy and opportunities, while alerting us all to change and possibility. “The Exuberance Project endeavors to enchant its public so we can make better sense of the complex effervescence of Southern Africa’s places and spaces, ideas and passions, ” he says.

Die Ausstellung des Exuberance-Projekts findet in der Mandela Rhodes Gallery statt und wird von einem Projekt im öffentlichen Raum mit dem Titel The Callings begleitet, bei dem Kunstwerke auf Gebäude, Klanginstallationen und Performances projiziert werden.

Zu den teilnehmenden Künstlern und Künstlerkollektiven zählen das Zentrum für historische Nachstellungen, Mohau Modisakeng, Tracey Rose, Ala Hourani, George Mahashe, Zanele Muholi und andere.