Artistes et Créatifs/Artistas e Criativos/Artists and Creatives/Artistas y Creativos



Nelisiwe Xaba, a wonderful South-African dancer, already known by the French public as the fetish performer of Robyn Orlin, presented her own work in the last two days of the 2007 edition of Toulouse International Festival «C’est de la Danse Contemporaine».
Being the image of this year festival Nelisiwe Xaba had full house at CDC studio, where she presented two solos: «Plasticization» and «Ils me regardent et c’est tout ce qu’ils pensent» («They look at me and that’s all they think»).
In these two solos, Nelisiwe Xaba, in collaboration with Strange Love and Carlo Gibson, offers to us – with a generosity that we are not used to in Europe – an astonishing work on costume and accessories handling.
Not only she makes proof of a refined sense of aesthetics but she successfully takes us through a very pertinent critical vision of what a female south-African black contemporary artist has to say in this male European white contemporary world.
«Ils me regardent…» is tribute to Sarah Baartman, the South-African black woman that became an object of scientific curiosity in the nineteenth century.
In a very intelligent but simple way Nelisiwe translates Sarah Baartman’s story into an autobiographic vision of black African woman’s body today.
Through a quite elaborate game with costumes and objects: her dress becomes a cinema screen, inflated air becomes body shapes, a stool becomes a tango partner… in a surprising dance where music is used in a direct and sometimes funny way.
There is a kind of conscious naivety that enchants the spectator in an audacious musical path – where we, Europeans, have lost all spontaneousness, Nelisiwe Xaba builds her territory!
«Plasticization» is a short and astounding solo performance, where the body becomes universal in its… plasticization!
An accurate critical view of the contemporary body, that becomes plastic, not only in an aesthetical way, but also in the manner of how contemporary humans interact: not touching, not showing their bodies (unless it is in a fashion socially accepted usage), isolating their «body of diseases and imperfections» away from the joy of just being («natural»?). A body that only touches others through plastic protection (kissing is a beautiful metaphor) and that becomes a big plastic bag from which arms and legs (protected by shoes) come out to touch the outside «dangerous» world (kind of Sarkozy point of view no?).
Once more Neliwise Xaba impresses us by her musical choices (big opera choruses and classical Top 5 excerpts) and the way she treats it through personal gesture and expression.
Nelisiwe Xaba succeeds in putting us face to face with our still present (unconsciously?) white colonial taste for exotic voyeurism.
A statement that westerner white Art has a lot to learn from besides its pride of apparent superiority.
Thank you Nelisiwe for reminding us of what Art is there for!

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