The Lunar Songbook – Athi-Patra Ruga

20 September 2020 to 26 July 2021

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The Norval Foundation presents a grand work by Athi-Patra Ruga, entitlediiNyanga Zonyaka – The Lunar Story Book, which is exhibited in the gallery’s central atrium.

The Lunar Songbook is the first iteration of Athi-Patra Ruga’s iiNyanga Zonyaka – The Lunar Story Book – a cycle of works in various media.

Here, his story world takes the form of an enormous window vinyl, inspired by the stained glass of Christian church architecture, applied to the triple-volume glass wall of the atrium. The translucent film depicts a complex visual narrative emerging from a constructed mythology which functions as allegory.

Athi-Patra Ruga, born in Mthata, Eastern Cape in 1984, uses myth in order to respond to contested histories as well as the contemporary context. Ruga creates avatars and alternate realities as a means to view the traumas of colonial history without the obstruction of personalised grief and subjective defensiveness. He uses these constructed narratives as a lens to process the past, to critique the present, and to propose humanist visions of the future.

Ruga’s story world interrupts linear historical understanding, blurring mythology and reality by presenting us with counter-narratives and a cosmological recounting of time. Time as a cosmological recounting is etched onto the windows as visible light, invoking propagation and intensity, and absorbed as frequencies and wavelengths, expressed inside the atrium like a hymn in the book of Psalms.

The viewing experience is like gazing into the South African rainbow and noticing the fracture, the distortion, the erasure, the violence, the fallacy, and the silences.

Through the vinyl we enter into myth which transforms reality; thus we are presented with counting time in a way that centres Black, femme and queer narratives.

Venue: Norval Foundation, 4 Steenberg Rd, Tokai
Time: Monday to Sundays 10am to 6pm | Closed on Tuesdays
Cost: Acces card R120 valid for 1 year after the date of purchase

Tel: 087 654 5900
Instagram: @norvalfoundation


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