Performance and studio artist Athi-Patra Ruga gives insight into why he produces the work he does in the latest documentary-style short film by the INDIE Channel. This video explores Athi-Patra’s work in a more serious tone as he speaks about what he does, why he does it and what he’s hoping to achieve through it in a raw and honest way.
Talking about the performance aspect of his work, he explains that he inserts his body into spaces and places which history, advertising and bureaucracy have prevented him from occupying and says that he does so to push boundaries and challenge traditional perceptions of art, beauty and character. Athi-Patra also explains the significance of his tapestries ending up in museums, an emotional subject that he’s particularly proud of. He says, “I would love for one day a little black child to go and say ‘there is more of me in this museum, there’s a picture by a black man talking about black existence and using a black subject but not in a historical or antiquated way.’ For me, I am bearing witness for my nieces and my nephews, for them to look back and feel a place. That’s a long ass project. Inserting myself, whether they want me there or not, is my investment in South Africa. That’s why I work.”
A MASTA production
Directed by Stacey Howell
Produced and filmed by Maxime Thaysen
Edited by Meredith Shearer-Aylward
Additional footage courtesy of Athi-Patra Ruga and Studio, Meredith Shearer-Aylward and Ruth Simbao for The Making Way exhibition
Future Sounds of Mzansi is directed by Nthato Mokgata and Lebo Rasethaba of Egg Films, and produced by Black Major