UJ Arts & Culture heads to Makhanda

UJ Arts & Culture is gearing up for its tour to the National Arts Festival to showcase the depth of cultural engagement facilitated by University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA). It is a programme rich in talent and diverse in creative discipline.


Franz Kafka’s masterpiece Metamorphosis highlights the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of UJ Arts & Culture’s work. Conceptualised by around 300 FADA students and performed by a stellar line-up of professionals, Metamorphosis is the story of a young man who transforms into a giant beetle-like insect overnight, becomes an object of disgrace to his family and an outsider in his own home.

One of the most widely read and influential works of 20th-century fiction, Metamorphosis startles the audience with the bizarre story of a quintessentially alienated man. Kafka takes his audience on a harrowing – though absurdly comic – meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation.

Working in multidisciplinary groups, FADA students from across ten different departments in the faculty were challenged to explore the ‘other-worldly’ interpretations that this play lends itself to. The cast, featuring William Harding, Craig Morris, Khutjo Green, Ameera Patel and Jack Mabokachaba are complemented by the collaborative design of sets, costumes and animation.

“Having so many minds combined in the creation of an abstract thought such as this play is a rarity,” says Head of UJ Arts & Culture, Pieter Jacobs. “It is a force that entrenches the power of true collaboration within the creative sectors as an agent of deep change and innovation.”

Metamorphosis will be running from 27 – 30 June at the National Arts Festival at the Gymnasium. The production will return to UJ Art Centre from 11 – 20 July. Tickets are now available at https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/events/metamorphosis/ and https://arts.uj.ac.za/show/METAMORPH/


Testament to UJ Arts & Culture’s commitment to the development and transfer of skills, Ayanda Bulose will make his directorial debut with the classic allegory Lord of the flies. After a number of years honing his skills as a director, Bulose will head up a fierce team of UJ Arts & Culture’s Arts Academy students to bring this tale of fear and power to life. “It’s has been an exhilarating experience breathing life into an epic classic such Lord of the flies,” says Bulose.

“It has been a wonderful journey producing Lord of the flies. over the past six months that I have been at UJ Arts & Culture. We have an incredibly talented creative team comprising young award winning designers. This is Ayanda Bulose’s debut as a director and he has not held back on his creative input and seeing him grow into a young talented director has been rewarding,” says UJ Arts & Culture Operations Manager Karabo Mtshali.

The Lord of the flies production team has partnered with the UJ Health & Safety department to collect recycling material used to build the set, reflecting on environmental issues that is a theme running through Bulose’s interpretation of the play.

Lord of the flies will be running from 27 June – 30 June at St Andrews Hall at the National Arts Festival. Johannesburg audiences can catch it upon its return to the Con Cowan Theatre in September 2019 at the UJ Youth Arts Festival. Tickets are now available at https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/events/lord-of-the-flies/.


Created in residence at UJ Arts & Culture under the mentorship of award-winning Jade Bowers who also sits in the director’s chair, iNDUKU is written and performed by Ayabonga Makanya. In this one-hander Makanya tells the story of Thembalethu who was born in the rural Eastern Cape and raised by his Gogo after his mother abandoned him. Growing up within the confines of culture and religion, he is ill-prepared for the world. As he becomes a man he is faced with doubts about the foundations of these customs.

“Working with Ayabonga has been interesting for me, and I think for him as well, because it has been a process that has started from scratch, working with the writing from a dramaturgy perspective as well as the rehearsal process,” says Bowers.

iNDUKU will be running from 28 June – 30 June at St Andrews Hall at the National Arts Festival. Johannesburg audiences can catch it upon its return to POPArt in Johannesburg from 11- 14 July. Tickets are now available at https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/events/induku/.


This year’s fine art exhibition that UJ is touring to the National Arts Festival is a continuation of the longstanding partnership between the MTN Foundation and UJ Arts & Culture. Main Programme exhibition Continuing Conversations is a collection of portraits expertly drawn from the extensive collections of both institutions.

With the vision and enthusiasm of joint curators Niel Nortje, Manager of the MTN Art Collection and Annali Dempsey Curator of University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, Continuing Conversations brings the hidden treasures of both collections into the public domain.

Dempsey and Nortje have selected portraits that explore the concepts of power, the juxtaposition of power and powerlessness, identity and body politics, perceptions of the other and the exotic, memory, and the masks we wear.

About 40 works have been selected from across the UJ collection, consisting of 1 500 artworks, and the MTN collection, consisting of 1 400 artworks. Artists on show include Gerard Bhengu, Reshada Crouse, Wilma Cruise, Phillemon Hlungwani, Maggie Laubser, Judith Mason, George Pemba, Cecil Skotnes, Irma Stern and Edoardo Villa.

Continuing Conversations will be exhibited from 27 June – 7 July at the Grahamstown Gallery – Albany Museum.

About UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni, and the general public, to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.