In 2023, we are Connected by Creativity

As we step into 2023, we are not only Connected by Creativity but are driven by the energy creativity brings to the future. UJ Arts & Culture‘s 2023 programme reflects how UJAC is contributing to the conversation around 4IR in the creative and cultural industries, the importance around the cultivation of creativity and its critical role in the future. 

Creativity, with its inherent innovation and problem-solving elements, are key markers in future of work and the sustainability of our society. At UJ Arts & Culture, we are cultivating the energy behind creativity so that our students have the best possible start to their lives. When we say we are reimagining the future, we are embodying it, preparing our students for something that is better than we have now. We are embedding an appreciation for the arts, a better connection to empathy, an understanding of the importance of culture and how the arts empower us to engage with people from different backgrounds. We are using the creative energy behind art as a tool for transformation. 

Leading the charge into a 4IR emboldened future is Gregory Maqoma’s VR Experience in partnership with the Institute for the Metaverse, which brings together the creative mind of world-renowned South African dancer and choreographer, Gregory Maqoma with 3D modelers, VR programmers, UJ Arts & Culture and the Institute for the Metaverse to create a unique experience at the intersection of performance and technology.  

Liewe Land, opening at the UJ Art Gallery in July, invites audiences to look to the land, through a variety of artistic responses, stylistic strategies, and conceptual approaches of more than 30 artists. Viewers are invited to explore the political, socio-economic, and ecological underpinnings that shape our understanding that representations of land are always constructed rather than natural objective documentation.  

The New Covenant, a powerful new Mass written by composer Antoni Schonken and poet Antjie Krog. The themes of the Mass are centered on interconnected issues of social and environmental crises. It investigates power and responsibility within a context of what is considered sacred, and how that impacts the ecosystems people are involved in. 2023 marks Renette Bouwer’s final year as senior choirmaster for the UJ Choir, and there are many opportunities throughout the year to catch the choir’s performances as they participate in various choral events and showcases around the country during the year. 

In March, UJ Arts & Culture play host to the International RapidLion Film Festival, the world’s largest showcase of BRICS and African Diaspora films. While Wezile Harmans multidisciplinary interrogation of migration policies DO NOT TRUST THE BORDERS – takes place at the UJ Art Gallery. 

Dante Society and the Italian Cultural Institute in partnership with UJ Arts & Culture, present Dante and Mashudu towards the end of March in celebration of the 700th year anniversary of Dante’s death. The Dante Alighieri Society is working closely with the Johannesburg School of Mask and Movement to create a unique work set to tour to Durban and Cape Town after its premiere at the UJ Arts Centre in Johannesburg.  

In April, the Johannesburg Site-Specific Literary Project goes live. Emerging unpublished authors are challenged to draw inspiration from the city to write a short story. The winning work will be the catalyst for a performance, juxtaposed with an existing work by an established author that ultimately creates a dialogue about people, place and belonging. The project will include a physical and virtual seminar, presented in partnership with Swedish-based Malmö. 

In May, Macabre puts audiences in the middle of the action with a site-oriented, small-audience, psychological suspense play. Macabre is a story of guilt, loss, and remorse.  

At the UJ Art Gallery Overwhelmed, presented by the UJ Artists in Residence Programme, is an exhibition about accumulations of objects and fragments, their motifs and the loaded inheritance they hold. It will later travel from UJ to the Vrystaat Arts Festival in July.  

In June, UJ Arts & Culture and the STAND Foundation present a two-week dance season featuring a broad range of productions by professionals and students.  The UJ Choir will travel to the Vrystaat Arts Festival in In July to showcase their choral performance with Artist In Residence Mbuso Ndlovu. 

At the end of August UJ Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture and The European Fine Crafts Fair present Craft At The Age Of New Technologies: An International Perspective. The event will bring together a broad range of high-end craft specialists from across the globe showcasing and selling their crafts and participating in new technologies dialogues and workshops over a three-day period.  

In September Bio-Art comes to the fore in two exhibitions with Brenton Maart, Sonya Rademeyer, Kagiso Kekana, VIAD, and the UJ Artists in Residence.  

The 27th Poetry Africa International Festival, presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu- Natal, will present Poetry Africa, a 3-day Johannesburg programme in collaboration with UJ Arts & Culture in October. October also is a time to celebrate the incredible talent of the students with the UJ Youth Arts Festival – a performing arts showcase, the UJ Choir Celebration and this year’s FADA Interdisciplinary Theatre Project Arabian Nights.

Our longstanding partnership with MTN SA Foundation UJ Art Gallery continues with an exciting exhibition scheduled for November 2023.

And rounding the year off, on 1 December 2023, UJ audiences can end the year with a belly laugh at Stand-up at UJ an evening of some of the best and newest stand-up comedians.