Jay Pather

Public presentation by curator and choreographer, Jay Pather, held at La Cuina [The Kitchen], MACBA.

Social velocity characterizes the contemporary moment the world over, and African contemporary societies are no different. In addition, African societies also deal with the continued turbulence and the aftershocks of colonialism, from the colonial residue that remain in structures of modernity. These disturbances have produced some of the world’s most vivid performance artists. Searching, passionate, seeming nihilistic yet holding on to the imperative to give form, shape and articulation to layered experiences of past and future, the works that have emerged are both frustrating and satisfying in turn. In the artist’s unceasing attention to the truth of the representation, predictable and just aesthetically satisfying form and structure are abandoned. In its place, an invitation to touch the ineffable through a mixture of unexpected disruption of narrative, deeply subjective opacity and blindingly illuminating image.

Using this as a starting point to his discussion, Pather will discuss the works of contemporary live artists from South Africa as well as from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Cameroon. The discussion will be illustrated in detail, through an audio-visual presentation.

With the support of PICE Program-Visitors, from AC/E Acción Cultural Española.

Programa para la Internacionalización de la Cultura Española


Jay Pather (Durban, 1959) is a choreographer, curator and academic based in Cape Town. Interested in performance art, he directs the Institute for Creative Arts at University of Cape Town, and is the curator of Infecting the City Public Art Festival and the ICA Live Art Festival in Cape Town, Afrovibesin the Netherlands, the Biennale of Body, Image Movement in Madrid, and many more. He has recently published a book, “Transgressions, Live Art in South Africa” with Catherine Boulle, chaired the jury for the recent International Award for Public Art, was appointed Fellow at the University of London and was recently made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Arts and Letters) by the French Government.