Visual artist Kudzanai Chiurai and jazzman Tumi Mogorosi are putting together an experimental collaboration that promises good vibes

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

In what should rate as one of the most interesting collaborations of visual art-meet music in recent years in the country, celebrated multi-disciplinary artist Kudzanai Chiurai and equally celebrated jazz musician Tumi Mogorosi are coming together to create art. This is clearly an experimental journey that many will definitely look forward to in Johannesburg.

What should particularly spark public interest, is not just because two artists from totally different backgrounds, visual art and sound art, are collaborating. Granted a rare thing on the local contemporary art scene, but the two represent some of the best brains in their respective areas. So the stakes are clearly high here.

Mogorosi is known to be innovative, unafraid to experiment with sound and other musical elements in framing both his performances and recordings as a jazz drummer. On the other hand, Chiurai is equally innovative in conceptualising and executing his visual art projects. He is also brave too in tackling issues that deal with the subject of those who wield power in society and how that power is perceived by the powerless in society.

And so it will be interesting to see how this collaborative project will pan out and be received by the audience. Clearly the two are taking an art risk. But great art comes out of not fearing to take risks, but embracing risk as part of normal art practice.

Playing safe and doing what one has always done well, may bring great rewards to an artist with an established art practice and following. But coming out of the comfort zone, the known into the unknown and succeed, brings even greater rewards, hence the necessity for artists to take risks at times. In fact brave artists from time to time are known to take such risks.

Sometimes they fail for sure. But failing allows them to become better artists going forward. That is why this collaboration is important. Only the brave, such as the two art minds often take such risks and experiment on a project for public viewing.

Essentially We Still Insist is a film project and live performance presented by The Library of Things We Forgot to Remember  and What’s Wrong With Groovin’? on the 22nd of September at 19:00 at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Kudzanai Chiurai presents the film that will be accompanied by a live performance by Tumi Mogorosi and The Freedom Now Suite Band. Tickets are R400.00 on Quicket.

The Library of Things We Forgot to Remember and What’s Wrong With Groovin’? bring you a wonderful re-adaptation of Max Roach’s We Still Insist  avant-garde jazz album and a vocal-instrumental suite on themes related to the Civil Rights Movement . The album was considered highly controversial and even banned in some countries.

Mogorosi and The Freedom Now Suite band will be re-imagining this special album that played variations on the theme of the struggle for African Americans to achieve equality in the United States. 

The performance will be accompanied by and audio and visual installation by Chiurai that will be incorporated into the live performance.

Says Chiurai “This will be a presentation of a visual and audio archive installation that speaks to the history of oppression, resistance and liberation throughout Africa in the latter half of the 20th century. The collaboration with What’s Wrong With Groovin’? seeks to bring the past into the present , as our present is  still shaped by our colonial history. The collaboration also evokes the traditions of resistance, solidarity and collaboration that are synonymous with the album We Insist, Freedom Now Suite. This rendition will be titled We Still Insist – as a continuation to the albums call to resistance, solidarity and collaboration.” 

The Freedom Now Suite is made up of leading lights of the SA jazz scene: Tumi Mogorosi (Drums), Gabi Motuba  (Vocals) Dalisu Ndlazi (Bass), (DJKenzhero – on the 1’ns & Two’s), Malcolm Jiyane (Trombone), Ndabo Zulu (Trumpet), Ofenste Sebula (Tenor Sax) and  Gontse Makhene (Percussions).

• Performance day: 22 September 2022 – One Night Only

• Time: From 7pm

• Ticketing: Quicket R400.00 per ticket

• Location: Constitution Hill Museum at The Fort – 11 Kotze Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

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