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10 Questions For: Athi-Patra Ruga
One of the winners of the 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards, this game-changing Cape Town-based creative is constantly exploring the lines between fashion, performance and contemporary art
1. How would you describe what you do for a living?
I am the founding artist at Athi-Patra Ruga and Studio, where for the past 11 years we have been responsible for creating works that have their grounding in the illusive medium of visual performance art. This involves the body, as an art object, moving to convey ideas about beauty and existence.
2. What is your most vivid childhood memory?
The first time I kissed a boy, Gregory.
3. If you could invite any three people, dead or alive, for dinner, who would they be and why?
Steve Biko, to listen to him talk about ways in which his writings could be applied to today’s ever-changing world. James Baldwin, to re-evaluate how The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity could have an even larger impact on my generation and future ones. Sidima Ngalonkulu, my maternal granddad, to hear about how he started out as a petrol attendant in Port Elizabeth and then went on to run a highly successful dairy farm – his wisdom could help me to build a formidable studio.
4. If you ever found yourself auditioning for a music reality TV show, what song would you sing and why?
‘One Moment in Time’ by Whitney Houston, simply because I believe this song is, arguably, THE greatest piece of secular music ever written by the greatest voice of all time. So, my silly interpretation would make for great entertainment.
5. How would you complete this sentence?
The South African cabinet should include a Minister of _______.
…Arts and Work Ethic.
6. What would you say is the biggest misconception about you?
That it’s easy to confirm my identity and experiences.
7. What is your (honest) opinion of Cape Town?
It’s nothing short of home. And as we all know, at home, all children are allowed to have feelings of entitlement.
8. What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
The fear of myself and how my self-esteem affects my day and my art.
9. What's the one thing you'd like to achieve before you die?
Building an even more successful atelier that will teach young artists some of the techniques that I have revived, like tapestry and handwork. Also, I’d like to establish a collection of queer African contemporary art houses in my hometown, East London.
10. Which well-known South African personality would you, without a doubt, be able to beat in a street fight and why?
Steve Hofmeyr, because he doesn’t look like the street is his stomping ground.
Image courtesy of Athi-Patra Ruga & Studio; photo by Kope/Figgins
CapeTownMagazine.com’s 10 Questions project gets to know some of the Mother City’s most creative and inspiring people. From television personalities and musicians to politicians and entrepreneurs, we find out more about well-known and up-and-coming Capetonians. You can follow #CapeTownMag10Q on Twitter and Facebook to track recent interviews or read more here about our other awesome 10 Questions candidates.
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