UJ Arts & Culture featured artist for The Pandemic Project for today is, Ignatius van Heerden with a thought-provoking multi-media dance piece BìNGDú. The title is the Chinese translation of the word virus and is van Heerden’s direct mental and emotional reaction to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Built around the image of a cage, van Heerden captures the deep sense of isolation and loss of freedom so many felt during the Covid19 lockdown.
“The idea that an unseen enemy can force the entire world into isolation just messed with my mind. Being a person who interacts with people daily, being in an isolated environment got me thinking and assessing all the time.”
“My thoughts became a virus on their own. Caged due to fear, enslaved to an intelligent virus,” states van Heerden.
Set to the UJ Choir’s rendition of His Eye is on the Sparrow by Charles H Gabriel, arranged by Ben Bram, van Heerden found the words of the piece deeply resonated with him.
Why should I feel discouraged?
And why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heavenly home
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me
“The song that was given to me immediately resonated with me. In Chinese culture the sparrow is considered to bring good luck and fortune. It also is a symbol of joy, simplicity and community. In the Biblical sense, the Sparrow is believed to show us how to focus on our own lives. A caged sparrow would then most likely be in the same situation that we are currently at.”
Song: His Eye is on the Sparrow – Charles H Gabriel, arr. Ben Bram
About Ignatius van Heerden
Ignatius van Heerden displays his extensive dance training skills in the styles of Jazz, Ballet, and Contemporary Dance. He has successfully obtained a number of accolades over the last decade, which include, The FNB Vita Award for the Most Promising Male Dancer, a Naledi Award for the Best Ensemble Performance in a musical and A Merit Award at the National Arts Festival for excellence in creativity and innovation in his work 6 impossible things for Oakfields College Faculty of Dance and Musical Theatre. Most recent works include Four, a dance season for Oakfields College, and the highly acclaimed Nijinsky’s War which received a prestigious Standard Bank Ovation Award for artistic excellence along with six BroadwayWorld.com, four SA Theatre Magazine and four Naledi Theatre Award nominations. His latest one hander Birthing Nureyev was received with immense critical acclaim.