Celebrated artist William Kentridge hosts Kafka Moment in Maboneng

The two day mini Season of Franz Kafaka’s work on on April21-22 is portrayed by veteran actors Kevin Smith (Isidingo), Ameera Patel (Generations), Sue-Pam Grant (Suburban Bliss) and Anthony among other brilliant stars.

By Edward Tsumele

He is one of the busiest artists globally, mounting shows here in South Africa and abroad. Be it theatre or visual art, world renowned South African artist William Kentridge is however  is well respected for his generosity of spirit as demonstrated by his now legendary love for collaborations, often with those artists that come from a different generation and even different backgrounds from his.

It is this love for collaborations with especially young artists from different disciplines, especially in recent years that has earned the iconic South African visual artist much respect and accolades in recent years.

Kentridge is able to do this kind of work through a new centre he started in recent years, in bustling Maboneng, east of Johannesburg, a place that has undergone both physical and demographic transformation in recent years, with building being rehabilitated, transforming the area into a bustling urban oasis that before Covid struck in March 2020, was a favourite with overseas  tourists.. However with Covid-19-curtailing global travel, Maboneng’s demography is that of mainly young middle class black creatives and those looking for a good night time out in its assortment of eateries dotted along the area’s streets.

It is here in one of the iconic buildings Arts on Main on Main Street, Johannesburg, in the area where you will find the Centre for Less Good Idea, a space started by Kentridge as a space offering an opportunity inter-disciplinary collaborations, such as  experimenting and crafting productions that fused a vareiety of arts disciplines, spanning poetry, dance, music, film,  visual art, architecture and any crazy creative idea that Kentridge believes could be rescued and turned into a creative master piece  that has the potential to connect with audiences looking for new alternative ways of presenting and telling the story of our times. Often Ketnridge gets that right based on the shows that have so far taken place inside the centre’s stages. The shows that have been staged there annually through a season format offering have been as intellectually stimulating as they are fresh and different from a lot of stuff that has been seen on country’s commercial stages and gallery spaces and movie screens. The centre for Less Good Idea is really a space for experimentation, trying in new ideas and where dreams are given an opportunity to manifest or be tried and abandoned if they do not work, according to kentridge in this interview. It is a laboratory of sorts.

In an interview with CITYLIFE/ARTs  Kentridge revealed the centre in its past six years had no set agenda in terms of what idea would work and what would not work, but overall the centre has been a success, such as a project that the  Centre collaborated with Vuyani Maqoma that went on to enjoy a season overseas.

And according to the celebrated artist, who works in a variety of media, such as charcoal, film and theatre, a number of artists were able to earn a living during these difficult times of Covid-19, through the work that they did through the Centre for Less Good Idea.

“We never intended the centre to be commercially driven though but nevertheless it has been a success in the past six years of its existence, with people buying tickets to see productions. Some ideas worked and others did not work out.  However the past year was difficult due to the pandemic affecting issues of attendance as people had to see shows remotely and working on collaborations has been difficult as well due to safety issues.

“Obviously the performances are limited. Instead of having hundred people we have 70 or 80 people in the Centre during shows.. The performers that have worked here have been energized. Some of the projects have enjoyed a longer term season elsewhere after the performances at the centre.
The Centre is hosting  two day mini Season of Franz Kafaka’s work (portrayed by veteran Coleman actors Kevin Smith (Isidingo), Ameera Patel (Generations), Sue-Pam Grant (Suburban Bliss) and Anthonyamong other brilliant stars) and this is the third season (of productions )we have done so far since last year,” Kentridge told CITYLIFE/ARTS.

He also revealed that the openness in which  the production process has been done at the Centre of Less Good Idea has inspired a lot of people, not just people at the centre but other people globally who watched the shows remotely.

“One good thing about the centre is that it has archives of the process of making work that could be used by scholars and academics. We tried  not to grow big by looking for sponsorships,’ Kentridge said.

.Kentridge the founder of the Center for the Less Good Idea, will be hosting a dialogue on the Kafka Moment on the 21st April, 2021.in Maboneng. The Kafaka Moment season will end on April 22, 2021.

Venue: The Centre for the Less Good Idea, Unit 11 Arts on Main, Maboneng, 245

  Main Street

Date: 22-23 April 2021


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