Digital Africa Exhibition and Beats Bloc Party among exceptional highlights of 2017 Fak’ugesi Festival

From 6 to 16 September, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival is back in Johannesburg to celebrate technology, creativity, collaboration and innovation from across the African continent.

Fak'ugesiThe highly anticipated 2017 festival will officially open with the launch of the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Exhibition on 8 September and close with the Festival Finale – Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc PartyFor the first time in 2017, the festival will have a dedicated New Media and Technology Art Exhibition focusing on the very latest digital practices. Opening on the 8th, the exhibition will run for the duration of the festival to showcase a collection of works that will include the work of Fak’ugesi Resident Artists from the SADC region (supported by Pro Helvetia and the ANT fund); Dananayi Muwanigwa and Kombo Chapfika from Harare, Zimbabwe and Julia Hango of Windhoek, Namibia. On show will be a selection of VR Films from Kenya and Senegal from “New Dimensions” presented by Electric South and the Goethe-Institut. Included is the VR work of Kenyan photographer Ng’endo Mukii, who produced a poetic city symphony on Nairobi in the VR piece Nairobi Berries, consisting of her lyrical voice-over alongside surreal, layered images of the city. Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane presents a magical 360 piece, in which a little girl is chosen to discover the invisible Dakar. Kenyan, The Nest Collective, created an interactive work set in the distant future titled Let this be a warning when a group leaves the Earth to create a new colony. The exhibition will further debut a brand-new collaboration between songstress Nonku Phiri and All Hail the Honey’s Rendani Nemakhavhani. This will be presented alongside works by artists Tabita Rezaire (supported by Goodman Gallery), Brooklyn J. Pakathi, Rick Treweek and Anthea Pokroy.

The festival’s grand finale is guaranteed to impress!

The opening event will feature a special one-day-only showcase of Painting with Music by Yann Seznec and Cukia Kimani in partnership with the British Council ConnectZA. Each of these unmissable exhibition events will take place at the newly built Accelerator building within the Tshimologong precinct. The Fak’ugesi Festival launch and exhibition will this year coincide with the FNB JoburgArtFair, a happy coincidence ensuring that Johannesburg will be buzzing with arts, creativity and inspiration. After ten days of festivities with plenty of opportunities for attendees to meet, play and share at a variety of forums, talks, exhibitions, workshops, hack-a-thons, music, films, artists, games, innovation riots and much more, the festival will conclude with the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party. Taking place on 16 September this important finale event brings together the very best outcomes from the Fak’ugesi Festival labs and workshops, with an afternoon and evening of interactive installations, animations, game arcades, including content from A MAZE JohannesburgThe festival’s grand finale is guaranteed to impress even further with a musical line up curated by the pioneering Weheartbeat, who present headline acts such as trap-house-jazz polymath Masego, ‘beatstrumentalist’ MNDSGN, and the Afro-electric Zaki Ibrahim and Fak’ugesi Beats Lab luminaries Hannath Faith and Evil Needle2017 Festival Director, Tegan Bristow says, “Fak’ugesi is not just a festival where you can come to see and hear, but a festival that is a location for learning, making, developing and innovating. As always, the festival will be at the cutting edge of collaboration, innovation and creativity and we look forward to welcoming everyone for another successful year.”

Artist Biographies

Fak’ugesi Artists in Residence:

Komborerai Chapfika

is a Zimbabwean (b. 1981) multi-disciplinary visual artist, who studied in Atlanta, GA. USA (BA. Economics 2006). Following graduation, he worked in advertising, broadcast, animation, and web development including time at LBi Interactive, Web.com, and Cartoon Network. His artwork features contemporary African and Western pop iconography, bright patterns, and often surreal figurative elements. He draws, paints, designs, animates, and creates installations. A mostly self-taught artist, he believes art transcends any singular medium and that each discipline informs the other. His hybrid aesthetic echoes his personal journey as a contemporary African artist commentating on the ongoing cultural remixing brought on by globalisation, the people, and situations he encounters. Chapfika is currently developing a “Retro-Futurist-Afro-Kitsch” aesthetic. A hyperbolic, but recognisable visual style that expresses the immense potential and current dire straits of Zimbabwe, and Africa at large.

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Dananayi Muwanigwa

is a 27-year-old self-taught digital artist/painter based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He uses 2 primary tools to produce his work, namely a Wacom drawing tablet and Adobe Photoshop. Dananayi has been using digital painting as a medium for the past 5 years and is largely self-taught, drawing inspiration from haute couture, film, fantasy. Digital painters who also played a key influence on the techniques he has developed include modern digital artists from Zimbabwe as well as globally such as Walter Musoza, Kudzai Gumbo, Stanley Lau, Warren Louw, Sakimi Chan, Adam Hughes, Robot Pencil and Ross Draws. In this last year the main subject of his work became women of colour, choosing to depict their strength and beauty using fantasy as his core style. By utilizing digital media he aims to tell the story of the African woman, a story he feels is often confined by gender and racial stereotypes. He also aims to contribute towards building the Zimbabwe Digital Arts community and eventually to empower others who are looking for a unique medium of expression through the art digital painting.

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Julia Hango

(better known as JuliART) is a 23-year-old who has self-funded three successful solo exhibitions to kick start her provocative feminist art career in 2015 in her home country Namibia. JuliART is one of the most promising young Namibian artists today. Playing with various artistic techniques many of her digitally created photographs are surreal and thought provoking as they are layered with movement and emotion that give the Artworks an exploratory three-dimensional space challenging the notions of sexuality and gender. Her work utilizes the power of the camera and the Naked human body as a tool to challenge society on issues of gender, bodily autonomy, mortality, identity, and, perhaps most importantly, her own life as a nudist.

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Fak’ugesi Exhibition Artists:

Ng’endo Mukii

is an award-winning film director. She is most well-known for Yellow Fever, her documentary-animation exploring Western influences on African women’s ideals of beauty. Her films have won accolades at the Chicago International Film Festival, Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, and the Kenya International Film Festival, among many more. Her work focuses on relationships, the separation between perception and reality, and the use of moving image to represent unspoken truths. She was invited to the 2015 Design Indaba conference. During her Indaba presentation, Film Taxidermy and Re-Animation, she proposed the use of animation as a means of re-humanizing the ‘indigenous’ image. She is an alumnus of the ‘Bridging The Gap’ program supported by Mujeres Por Africa, Berlinale Talents 2015 and 2014, and Durban Talents 2013. She is a recipient of the Focus Features Africa First and DocuBox Kenya film grants. Ng’endo is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in the US and holds a Masters of Arts in Animation from the Royal College of Art in London. She spends her time between Nairobi and Tsavo, animating little children, photographing dung beetles, and running away from scorpions.

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Selly Raby Kane

belongs to a new generation of urban, curious and open-to-the-world artists and designers who are bringing a new energy to Senegalese culture. Born and raised in the Senegalese capital, she studied at French fashion business school Mod’Spé in Paris and lived in the US before travelling in Africa. Along the way she developed an eclectic, uninhibited style that owes as much to street artist Banksy as it does to her love of traditional West African textiles. Through her eponymous label (formerly called Seraka), Kane expresses her strong and rebellious personality, frequently using three-dimensional moulded shapes, bold pattern and unusual materials such as PVC and fake hair.

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Nonku Phiri

stepped onto the scene at 17, with a serendipitous collaboration with Jazzworx. Since then she has proceeded to work with the internationally acclaimed a la Swindle, Branko, Mr Carmack, and the Classix, as well as the legendary Mahotella Queens. With Multiple collaborations alongside P.H Fat, Crazy White Boy, Jack Parow and fellow Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp alumni Card on Spokes, Okmalumkoolkat and Robin Brink. Nonku revealed her supreme talent to express and perform over a number of genres spanning house, electronica, hip hop and kwaito. 2015 saw her embarking on her solo career and releasing her first single to international acclaim. ‘Things We Do on the Weekend’ became an instant classic with its refreshing future kwaito beats accompanied by her sultry vocals. The latest release; Regrettables, is her follow up single, produced by her long-time collaborator Narch Beats and is set to be another stellar artwork to add to her catalogue.

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Rendani Nemakhavhani

is an illustrator and art director. Born and reared in Johannesburg, this 26-year-old believes she is on the verge of genius. Nemakhavhani is the founder of collaborative projects 30 Days and A City on which she collaborated with the likes of illustrator Sindso Nyoni. She also founded The Honey, a photography/film series on which she works with photographer Kgomotso Neto Tleane. Nemakhavhani was also a contributor in the book, Movement Johannesburg, edited by Zahira Asmal as well, Guy Trangos. In 2015 she was selected to be a part of Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives programme. Her work is centred around the representation of an “other” black body. She wants to share her narrative with the world.

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Rick Treweek

is a creative technologist constantly pushing the boundaries of digital formats and disruptive hardware. With over 15 years in the digital space, Rick is exploring emerging technologies and how they will influence our reality. He does this through creating worlds within art, games and new formats of digital media. Rick is currently focused on Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and 3D Printing and the emergence of these technologies. Rick is also working within the National Maker Movement to bring this influence of technology to the education space.

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Fak’ugesi Beats Selected Biographies:

Masego

has created and curated a new wave known as “trap house jazz,” blending infectious Southern beats like “Knuck If You Buck” with classical jazz elements and a cartoonish character. That’s why this 22-year-old saxophonist popping up on tracklists with GoldLink and Sango is becoming a true Renaissance man. Though he’s fostered the sound on his own, ‘Sego credits a friend, David Connelly, with coming up with the sub-genre’s name. “He doesn’t have TV or phone; he’s just really in that time period he makes hip-hop beats,” ‘Sego explained to XXL. So, we’re chopping it up one day, we’re making beats and then he starts playing this James Brown documentary and then I played some of my beats for him and he’s like, “Bro, this joint is like ignorance meets elegance…it’s like trap house jazz.” Masego is a modern day one-man band.

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Joe Kay

is the CEO and Co-Founder of Soulection – a globally recognized platform for future music and artist development. As Head of A&R as well as host of Soulection Radio on Beats1 and an active DJ in the worldwide music community, Joe oversees all artists while digging for the timeless “Sound of Tomorrow” to share with the world. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Soulection curates timeless music and good vibes from around the world and increases visibility for them through the The Sound Of Tomorrow (TSOT) construct – digitally via social media and offline via TSOT live events and the Soulection Radio weekly broadcast. As a trusted resource and global platform pushing forth The Sound Of Tomorrow on both the music creation and music consumption sides, Soulection aims to inspire and foster an environment that values creativity, organic and positive vibes, hard work and vision.

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Hannah Faith

There is an aura surrounding Hannah Faith that shines through in all her work, one being photography. What started as a simple expression of her take on her surroundings, lead to her wanting to learn more and develop on her divine imagery. Her images incorporate a botanical lifestyle with touches of vibrant tones and influences from the 70’s era. Hannah aims to make a statement with her imagery, sending the message to humans across the world that beauty is everywhere, and is in the eye of the beholder. Hannah’s passion for music shows exceptionally well through her sonically pleasing mixes which have been featured on The Fader, Saint Heron, Complex and more. Her reach has amassed internationally having DJ’d at sold out venues KOKO, Paradiso, The Regents Theatre to name a few. Her vision is to continue to express self-love through her imagery and music, with the intention of her work reaching more publications and wider outlets which can further inspire. Supported by British Council ConnectZA.

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