Athi-Patra Ruga, The Future White Women of Azania, 2012; performed as part of Performa Obscura in collaboration with Mikhael Subotzky; commissioned for the exhibition Making Way, Grahamstown, South Africa; photo: Ruth Simbao, courtesy Athi-Patra Ruga and WHATIFTHEWORLD/GALLERY


Athi-Patra Ruga: The Elder of Azania

Related Exhibition Public Intimacy

Friday, February 21, 2014

10 p.m.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts


Athi-Patra Ruga, artist
La Chica Boom, Dia Dear, Monique Jenkinson, Brontez Purnell, and Mica Sigourney, dancers

Athi-Patra Ruga’s ongoing performance series The Future White Women of Azania (2010‒present) features fantastical characters — usually played by the artist — whose upper bodies sprout colorful, liquid-filled balloons, while their lower bodies pose or move in stockings and heels. Drawn from both classical Greek and Roman accounts of southern Africa and activists’ dreams of a pre- and post-apartheid black African utopia, Ruga’s Azania occurs as a state in flux: the Future White Women’s liquid-filled balloons droop and pop, and the character dissolves to reveal a performer. Ruga’s new work, The Elder of Azania, introduces another shape-shifter: a spiritual figure, both king and trickster, both Xhosa’s goat spirit and Vaslav Nijinsky’s famous faun.

Copresented with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as part of Public Intimacy and Live Projects 4

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