Live Virtual Auction, 11 - 13 April 2021
About this Item
Athi-Patra Ruga moved to Johannesburg in 2002 from East London to study fashion. He soon encountered the work of performance artists Steven Cohen, Sharon Bone and Tracey Rose. His early work frequently combined his dual interests in fashion and performance. The figure in this photo evolved out of a series of 2010 performances in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Buenos Aires (where Ruga wore a black-balloon costume at the 2010 Toffie Pop Culture Festival). Ruga staged further balloon-clad performances in Grahamstown, San Francisco and Venice, while also working on translating his ephemeral actions into a durable multi-media practice (comprising photos, sculptures and textile works) framed by an opulent cosmology. The figure depicted in this lot forms a part of matriarchal dynasty ruling Azania, a fictional utopia once championed by anti-apartheid activists. Ruga has likened his Azania to Walter Battiss’s Fook Island. “I wanted to create a story that could be told or add to a toddler’s indigenous library of myths and legends, with all the elements of a story – above all some moral argument about beauty and self worth.”1
1. Athi-Patra Ruga (2014), The F.W.W.O.A. Saga. Cape Town: WHATIFTHRWORLD, page 152.
Brundyn+, February 2015.
WHATIFTHEWORLD (2013) Athi-Patra Ruga: The Works 2006-2013, Cape Town, WHATIFTHEWORLD, illustrated in colour on page 20.
Athi-Patra Ruga (2014) The F.W.W.O.A. Saga, Cape Town: WHATIFTHEWORLD, illustrated in colour on page 131.