‘Art Moves Me’ wall takes cen­tre stage

Cur­tain rises on packed, fes­tive Gra­ham­stown

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NONTANDO MPOSO

ARTISTS, mu­si­cians, per­form­ers, lo­cals and thou­sands of vis­i­tors have ar­rived in Gra­ham­stown for the an­nual Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val.

For the next 10 days, fes­ti­val- go­ers will spend time be­tween pro­duc­tions, ac­tiv­i­ties, restau­rants or just hang­ing out in the town, ex­plor­ing what’s on of­fer.

There’s some­thing for ev­ery­one, from vis­ual arts ex­hi­bi­tions, work­shops, com­edy and mu­sic, to film and crafts, all for a rea­son­able fee which makes qual­ity per­for­mances ac­ces­si­ble for all.

The lo­cal mime artists, chil­dren whose colour­ful faces have some­what be­come the fes­ti­val’s sta­ple fea­ture, are there to greet vis­i­tors to the 1820 Set­tlers Na­tional Mon­u­ment.

Built on the slopes of Gun Fire Hill, it of­fers panoramic views of the town and beau­ti­ful sun­sets.

In­side the mon­u­ment, the au­di­to­rium vi­brates as a group of fla­menco dancers in colour­ful cos­tumes clap and se­duc­tively sway their hips.

Dur­ing the fes­ti­val, eater­ies and bars will ben­e­fit hugely from the large num­bers of vis­i­tors who will in­dulge in late nights of din­ing and drink­ing be­tween and after the shows.

Colour­ful posters and ban­ners ad­ver­tis­ing stand- up comics, mu­sic and the­atre plas­tered on walls and fences pro­vide the proof that de­cid­ing which pro­duc­tions to see is a daunt­ing task.

This is where the NAF16 mo­bile app comes in handy, with show bios as well as up­dates on any sched­ule changes.

Yes­ter­day fes­ti­val- go­ers started ar­riv­ing at the mon­u­ment at about 9am for the early shows and film screen­ings. The in­ter­ac­tive Art Moves Me wall on the first floor drew the most at­ten­tion, with vis­i­tors get­ting the chance to record their thoughts on what moves them about the art world.

KwaZulu- Natal’s Pauline Cronje, who has at­tended the fes­ti­val for the past 20 years, said each year the pro­gramme packed in a greater va­ri­ety of per­form­ers, en­sur­ing there was al­ways some­thing new to look for­ward to.

“It’s big­ger and bolder and much more in­clu­sive than be­fore.

“There are more ex­cit­ing gen­res on of­fer… I can’t get here fast enough,” she said, adding that she would spend the next days see­ing about six the­atre shows a day.

Stu­dent An­dreas Valen­zuela, from Swazi­land said she was there for the mu­sic, and hoped to meet and in­ter­act with peo­ple of other cul­tures. Visit www.na­tion­alarts­fes­ti­val.co.za to view the pro­gramme. Face­book: www.face­book. com/na­tion­alarts­fes­ti­val Twit­ter: @arts­fes­ti­val In­sta­gram: @ na­tional arts­fes­ti­val

PIC­TURES: MATHEWS BALOYI

Colour­ful mimes are now a fea­ture of the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val.

The ‘Art Moves Me’ wall gives fes­ti­val-go­ers the chance to ex­plain what art means to them.

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