Friday, June 30, 2017

PANTSULA: THE COOLEST DANCE YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF AT UCLA'S FOWLER MUSEUM


Chris Saunders (b. 1984, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Real Actions Pantsula - Orange Farm, South
© Chris Saunders


Chris Saunders (b. 1984, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Teboho Diphehlo (Tebza2000) - Intellectuals Pantsula - Soweto
© Chris Saunders


This week's arts and culture column gives a shout-out to UCLA's wonderful Fowler Museum in general and in particular to an exhibit on a dance  that originated in the townships of Johannesberg called PANTSULA.

Here's how the piece begins:

UCLA’s Fowler Museum is a gem. You’re always sure to see an exhibit that’s unusual, revivifying and interesting.

The museum focuses on art and cultural artifacts from Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the Americas, both historical and contemporary. If you’re mad, as I am, for masks, totems, puppets, jewelry, carved tusks, retablos, ex-votos and Japanese emas (votive offerings), this is your place. In fact, the chance to see Ghanian artist El Anatsui’s “Versatility,” a huge rippling tapestry of dull gold made entirely from the strung-together metal necks of liquor bottles, is in itself worth a trip across town.

Exhibits called “How to Make the Universe Right: The Art of Priests and Shamans in Vietnam and Southern China” and “Lineage Through Landscape: Tracing Egun in Brazil by Fran Siegel” will soon begin.

“African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization and Style,” a current exhibit that explores fashion as a powerful means of expressing individual and collective identity, runs through July 30.

And through Sept. 3, you can catch “Pantsula 4 LYF: Popular Dance and Fashion in Johannesburg.” (LYF is an initialism for “Live Your Freedom.”) Pantsula began in Johannesburg townships during the apartheid.

Photographer Chris Saunders, whose work graces the exhibit, began taking pictures of pantsula dancers for the 2010 dance edition of Colors magazine. What started out as a two-month assignment transformed into a six-year pilgrimage.


READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

Chris Saunders (b. 1984, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Lenela Leballo (Lee) - Intellectuals Pantsula - Soweto
© Chris Saunders

1 comment:

  1. I am always up for surprises and for discovering new things and I guess that ''the coolest dance'' would be another thing that I would enjoy, thanks for posting this m8 !

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