Staging Times

Staging Times

Photographers and theatre professionals from six African countries (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, and South Africa) engage in a mutual exchange around the topic of „time“. 

Three teams from different African regions will work on this subject with their own specific perspective:

Aboubacar Traore

Travelling Through Time

The Malian photographer Aboubacar Traoré understands his work as a political statement. Especially the photos of the red empty chair, which he places in the suburbs of Bamako or at the banks of the Niger speak about the absence of rulers who serve their country instead of exploiting it. In these pictures Mali’s past communicates with the present.

The play that theatre director Noël Minoungou from Burkina Faso develops together with his team is inspired by that approach and he will even use Aboubacar’s photos on stage. His main character is MISTER TIME, a man in his fifties who experienced in his youth a revolution in his country. And still Mister Time is not ready to let his hopes die and therefore opens a laboratory with a kind of time machine, which brings the people back in these happy days of 1987. But unfortunately this machine does not work properly and makes other people from other African countries and from other times alive as well… 

image: Aboubacar Traoré – www.longingforthefuture.ch
Sarah Waiswa

Time Which Does Not Pass

The Kenyan photographer Sarah Waiswa describes her pictures as inspired by a Mexican zombie movie, which shows a cruel vision of eternal youth. Another source were the warnings of her mother. Sarah remembers her saying that “Whenever you buy a piece of cloth at the flea market, you better say a prayer. Otherwise the spirit of the person, who has worn the clothes before will stay with you.”

For the Burundian theatre director Freddy Sabimbona Sarah Waiswa’s pictures “have a darkness, but at the same time there is some kind of light in them.” They evoke surreal and dramatic pictures in him: “Actors on their knees, mouth open, bread falling down from the sky” or “Funerals on stage”. In their photo-theatre dialogue he brings Sarah’s photos into a Burundian context and uses them as a base for a theatre interrogation about Burundians identity: “Who are we? What are our roots? Where are we heading to?” And perhaps also: “What can(’t) we leave behind?”

image: Sarah Waiswa – www.sarahwaiswa.com
Time Multiplied (Lebohang Kganye & Thokozani Kapiri)

Time Multiplied

Thokozani Kapiri, theatre director from Malawi and Lebohang Kganye, visual artist from South Africa, work closely together to create a performance and installation, which will have premiere in a former warehouse in Lilongwe, Malawi in December 2019.

Thokozani describes Lebohang’s characters in her pictures as shadows, who could be part of the past but at the same belong to a future. And for Thokozani Kapiri in this future, where “the sun is not clear, blurred… with its polluted air, its smog” different times will look the same, because day and night will be the same. In the Malawian/South African installation fragments of stories or experiences of the characters, which are portrayed in Lebohang’s pictures will start to talk and to interact. “Time will be multiplied, depicting scenes will happen at the same time, and live, audio and video scenes will be combined.”

image: Lebohang Kganye – www.lebohangkganye.co.za