28 Ramadaan 1438 AH • 23 June 2017

Essop brothers brings Gadat to the public space

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Contemporary artists Husain and Hasan Essop will bring one of Cape Town’s most loved religious traditions into an artistic space at the Live Art Festival which is running from February 10-26. Through their latest experimental site-specific art, the twin brothers are bringing the iconic Cape ‘gadat’ to the Artscape.

The Ratib-al-Haddad (Gadat) is a set of Quranic verses and Prophetic prayers compiled by the great scholar and saint, Sheikh Abdullah Ibn Alawi al-Haddad. Sheikh Yusuf, who was taught under Sheikh Abdullah, shared the Ratib-al-Haddad with the first Muslims in Cape Town who were mainly servants and slaves. The Gadat’s melodious sound and refined tune was the result of slaves not being allowed to pray, thus pretending to be singing.

This performance of the ceremonial prayer, which is open to the public, will highlight key aspects of the ritual. The gadat will be led by the family of Ismail ‘Mai’ Khan of Bokaap as well as the jamaah from the historic Auwal masjid.  The gadat takes place this Sunday 19th February at 17.30pm at the Artscape.

Born and raised in Cape Town, twin brothers Hasan and Husain Essop have been collaborating since their graduation from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2007. During 2009 they completed a residency in Cuba – coinciding with the inclusion of their work at the Havana Biennale.

They have held solo exhibitions of their work at Goodman Gallery and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai), and their work has been featured in several international group exhibitions. In 2014 the brothers were awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art.

Site-specific artwork is created to exist in a certain place. Typically, the artist takes the location into account while planning and creating the artwork.

The Essop brothers’ visual piece is just one of a myriad of events that form part of the international ICA LIVE ART Festival programme, which brings together some of Africa’s most influential artists from the continent as well as from around the world. Cutting edge visual art and challenging performances of dance, music and literature combine to form a dynamic and provocative theatrical journey across the Mother City, unique to the ICA LIVE ART Festival.

Presented by the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA), the exclusive ICA LIVE ART programme showcases a rare selection of public, collaborative and often transgressive performative artworks, offered to the people of Cape Town free of charge.

The stellar programme features 33 artists from 12 countries for 34 one-night-only performances and projects alongside a series of insightful workshops and panel discussions. With a focus on generating dialogue and discussion, audiences are now offered space and time between performances to further engage with the immersive experience, interact with artists and explore each performance individually. The LIVE ART Festival programme includes 9 world premieres, 6 South African premieres, 5 open forums and 3 workshops over 10 days.

Project manager and co-curator James Macdonald: “The free and public nature of the ICA LIVE ART Festival is vested in a commitment to the value of contemporary live art as a means of facilitating encounters that encourage people to think and feel about a range of important issues in new and different ways.”

ICA Director and Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town, Jay Pather: “All performances occur once only. There are no repeats, there is no second chance! There are several artists of international standing such as Samson Kambalu, Panaibra Canda and Nora Chipaumire that may not have hit our radar in South Africa especially with live art platforms being so rare. We encourage audiences to look beyond and discover the rich mix of award-winning, internationally acclaimed artists as well as going for familiar artist names.” VOC

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