ICA Live Art Festival

A quick look at this year’s ICA Live Art Festival

The Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) Live Art Festival is one of few festivals on the continent dedicated to live art. It’s public, collaborative and progressive, showcasing a range of performative artworks from 12 different countries set to disrupt spaces across Cape Town. The festival combines the mediums of dance, art, theatre, music and literature to push traditional boundaries of interdisciplinary and performance art. 
This year’s line-up features screenings, artworks, interactive installations and performances by over 30 contemporary artists and curators including; Mamela Nyamza, Steven Cohen, Dean Hutton, Anthea Moys and Buhlebezwe Siwani. While performances are free, festival organisers have advised everyone to book ahead. Instead of our usual must-see lists, we’ve decided to group performances by a few of the themes being explored. Check out a few of them below: 
Unpacking Masculinity
Kamogelo Molobye is an actor and dancer from Soweto currently studying for his masters in Drama at Rhodes University. Ga(y)me(n)Play – pronounced ‘Game Play’ or ‘Gay Men Play’ is a physical performance interrogating issues of masculinity in South Africa. The representation of men in social settings and the expected behaviour codes they follow are some of the themes this work explores.
ICA Live Art Festival

Photo by Megan Kelly for Cue.

Color Bar

Color Bar is, as artist Roxanne R Campbell puts it, “an interview-driven documentary project that examines concepts of race and masculinity in relation to Black identity – in particular, labels and stereotypes associated with skin tone.” The Jamaican-born, New York-raised visual artist focuses much of her work on African and Afro Caribbean culture and identity by counter-framing accepted narratives of the African Diaspora in the Americas.  

Post-digital identity 
Self-Un-contained # punk
Nore Chipaumire is a New York-based performance artist investigating portraiture and self-portraiture. She focuses on identity construction in the online world looking at the act of seeing, thinking, feeling, relating and communicating through omnipresent devices such as headphones, cameras, clothing and phones. With irony, she questions ‘What really makes African’s so singular?’
ICA Live Art Festival

Image sourced from the Lincoln Centre

‘Ph03nix Rising: The Mogya Project’
Larry Achiampong is a British-Ghanaian artist. His solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance, and sound to explore ideas of cross-cultural and post-digital identity. Ph03nix Rising: The Magoya Project sees the artist critique Ghanaian highlife through a science-fictional lens in order to interrogate his own heritage.   

From the live performance piece ‘Ph03nix Rising: The Magoya Project’

Decolonising Dance 
Mamela Nyamza’s work considers the engendered body and the contemporary definition of dance. She interrogates how a body can be used as a tool outside of conventional expectations. DE-APART-HATE presents a discourse beyond decolonisation that journeys towards a humanity that’s not burdened by race and class.
ICA Live Art Festival

Image shot by Nardus Engelbrecht

Land Politics 
Excerpts from the Past
In this performance Sethembile Msezane brings conversations about land to the forefront. Claims to (African) land, themes of belonging, displacement and dislocation are narrated through sounds clips collected from colonial to apartheid-era and present day contexts. Sethembile is a Cape Town-based artist, who seeks to address the absence of the female black body in public spaces and historical milieus.  
ICA Live Art Festival

‘Excerpts of the Past’. Image courtesy of the artist.

On Privilege 
Dean Hutton’s #fuckwhitepeople is a public intervention inviting participants to discuss ideas around “how to ‘fuck the white in you’”. Dean is a gender-fluid performance artist, photojournalist and postgraduate student at the University of Cape Town. Their current research investigates experiences of identity, colonialism, social justice and queer identity.

Photo by Retha Ferguson.

The ICA Live Art Festival runs from the 10-26 of February. See the full programme here.

Between 10 and 5