ICGC, in collaboration with our partners at the Centre for Humanities Research of the University of the Western Cape, has developed a new initiative focused on convening artists and scholars from Minnesota and Cape Town around key themes of interest at our centers. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the collaboration is designed to bring artists, scholars, and students together around questions of arts and social change. The collaboration includes promoting the puppetry arts, from Cape Town through the Handspring Puppet Company and the Ukwanda Puppets & Designs Art Collective. From Minneapolis we are excited to welcome In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre to the collaboration.
The collaboration includes several exchanges, the first of which included hosting two puppet artists from Cape Town, Ncedile Daki and Luyanda Nogodlwana from the Ukwanda Collective, in residence at ICGC and HOBT during April-May 2016. They built a large heron puppet that was featured in the MayDay festival and ceremony.
The CHR also welcomed Sandy Spieler, the Artistic Director of HOBT, to the 2016 ICGC-CHR Winter School held in Cape Town. Sandy had the opportunity to visit the Handspring Puppet Company and the Ukwanda Collective at that time. Sandy has also contributed to ICGC’s International WaTERS Network, extending an artistic perspective on water access and justice. You may find more regarding the International WaTERS Network here.
In December 2016, two HOBT artists, Madeline Helling and Steve Ackerman, and Michael Sommers, Associate Professor of the UMN Theatre Arts and Dance Department, joined ICGC Director Karen Brown in participating in the Barrydale Festival and Parade in Barrydale, South Africa. The 2016 Barrydale Parade was entitled Olifantland, and focused on the story of elephants and the connections they inspire to questions of history, land, environmental conservation, and social justice, as well as on the special qualities of elephants themselves. The Barrydale Festival and Parade is held in connection with South African Reconciliation Day, and the community arts event also reflects questions of reconciliation. For more detail on the event click here.
This video tells some of the story of the Barrydale event and its production (and features exchange artists from Ukwanda and HOBT.
Most recently, in April-May 2018, Siphokazi Mpofu and Sipho Ngxola from Ukwanda visited Minneapolis where they worked again with the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre for MayDay 2018 and created a puppet of a black panther. For more on their visit, click here.