South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga’s hybrid and highly reflective work removes the borders between fashion, performance and contemporary art in an imaginative and playful way. Ruga subverts ideas of beauty, gender and race, trying to “transcend all boundaries that have been put on who and what one should create”, as he points out in an interview with photographer René Habermacher, which was published on Habermacher’s blog The Stimuleye last year and which I really recommend. Germans and French internet user also find a video interview with him about (hyper-)femininity and alienation in his work on the arte website.
Athi-Patra Ruga most recent works are a beautiful tapestry series based on portraits, which he created last year in his studio in Cape Town (see “Voodoo Face” below) and the synchronized-swimming performance “Ilulwane” (blurry excerpt here), which was shown at the Performa festival in New York City in November 2011 and at during Cape Town’s Infecting the City public arts festival in March. For a proper overview over his work please check out the website of Whatiftheworld Gallery, Cape Town, who represents him.
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