Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Future White Women of Azania: The Founding Myth, Venice Performance

Future White Women of Azania -  The Founding Myth

The Future White Woman of Azania is an ongoing series of performances first conceived in 2010 and evolving to engage new definitions of nationhood in relation to the autonomous body.

In the enactment of the site-specific work commissioned for the 55th Venice Biennale, the performance takes the form of an absurdist funerary procession. The participants are the ABODADE - the sisterhood order of Azania and the central protagonist - The Future White Woman.

“Azania, as a geographic location, is first described in 1stCentury  Greek records of navigation and trade , The Peryplus of the Erythrean Sea  and is thought to refer to a portion of the East and Southern African coast. The word Azania itself is thought to have been derived from an Arabic  word referring to the ‘dark-skinned inhabitants of Africa.’

Azania is then eulogised in  the black consciousness movement as a pre-colonial utopian black homeland- this Promised Land, referenced in struggle songs, political sermons and African Nationalist speeches. In  Cold War  pop culture , Marvel Comics used  Azania as a fictional backdrop to a Liberation story that bares a close resemblance to the situation that was Apartheid in Old South Africa …  so it is at once a mythical and faintly factual place/state that this performance unfolds… Who are the Azanians for what it’s worth ?  It is in this liminal state that the performance unfolds…“

Seeking to radically reimage the potential of Azania and its inhabitants, the performance questions the mythical place that we mourn for and asks who its future inhabitants may be. Using the “Nation-Finding  language of pomp and procession” , Ruga proposes a bold and iconoclastic  break with the past Utopian promise of the elders and instead presents us with a new potential and hybridity . 

HELLO? Paranoia much...

The Future White Women of Azania: The Trial, a performance art work by Athi-Patra Ruga.

Photos: Giovanna Zen
- See more at:

No comments: