This is the first time that a Sub-Saharan African country is honored in France within the framework of the cultural seasons organized by The French Institute. From May to December 2013, South Africa will be under the French spotlight building bridges of friendship and solidarity between our two countries. Strengthening cultural ties, the season will be the opportunity for South African artists to showcase their talent throughout more than 100 cultural events covering the French hexagon.
The inauguration evening will take place at the Chaillot National Theater on May 28th and will be the occasion for AAD – partner of the season- to reassert its continuous commitment throughout the Sub-Saharan African continent, initiated in 2009. Responding to a challenge posed in 2011 by the co-presidents Gervanne et Matthias Leridon to create an artistic performance displaying the plural beauty of the African continent, the famous and talented South African choreographer Robyn Orlin will offer the audience a celebration of an innovative and enchanting Africa through her original dance creation ‘Beauty remained just for a moment then returned gently to her starting position…’ presented for the first time in Paris. Beauty will also be performed on the stage of The Roberts Desnos Cultural Center in Ris-Orangis. For this occasion AAD offers 10 tickets on Facebook here. The opening night will be then followed by the highly symbolic illumination of the Eiffel Tower, adorned with the national colors of South Africa, kicking off the season.
Other important event of the first South African week in France, the Nelson Mandela travelling exhibition will start Thursday 30 and will be on view until the 6th of July. Organized by Paris City Hall, which has recently praised the extraordinary commitment of the former South African President by granting him the honorary citizenship, the show is an unprecedented tribute, through the lens of contemporary South African artists, to the life and the actions of the great man. It is the perfect inspiration for the Nelson Mandela day on July 18th when every citizen is invited to take action for a better world during 67 minutes.
This season provides an unprecedented opportunity for the French audience to discover the cultural effervescence of South Africa. In honor of the season, AAD scoured the upcoming artistic shows and picked up the hottest art exhibits we are most anxious to see.
From June 22- September 22, La Maison Rouge will host the extraordinary exhibit My Joburg offering an exceptional panel of the contemporary artistic scene from Johannesburg through the emblematic works of Billie Zangewa, David Goldblatt, Moshekwa Langa, Robin Rhodes, Kudzanai Chiurai and many others.
Exhibit B, an installation from the artist Brett Bailey is another must see. It will be successively presented during the Avignon Festival, at 104(Paris) and at The Maillon Theater (Strasbourg). Exhibiting thought his ‘tableaux vivants’ the history of the Black figure depiction and its stereotypes, the show is a direct allusion to the human zoos from colonial times.
African music will also make our hearts beat in cadence with South Africa throughout this season. Hugues Masekela, the jazz pioneer, will participate to the Paris Jazz Festival on July 21. More traditional, The Phuphuma Love Minus orchestra will carry us away in a Zulu spirit during the Summer Scene Festival organized at Parc de la Villette on July 13-14. Exceptionally, the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra will perform on July in Paris and in Marseille as well.
Find out about the entire South Africa-France cross season program here.