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.
Athi-Patra Ruga: The Elder of Azania
Related Exhibition Public Intimacy
Friday, February 21, 2014
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Image: 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 Simboa, courtesy Athi-Patra Ruga and WHATIFTHEWORLD/GALLERY