Developing this show with the amazing poet, writer and theatre practitioner Koleka Putuma, considered the voice of a new generation, with poetry that is highly political but experimental, is a complete dream come true.
I have been in awe of Koleka’s powerful writing and artistry for a while and feel honoured and so very grateful for the deep dive into the multimedia format presentation with her. This show, commissioned by the WIENER FESTWOCHEN saw us traveling to Vienna and Madrid in 2021.
Collective Amnesia, an anthology of poems published in 2017, is a questioning of South Africa’s history, an examination of patriarchy, racism, and gender-based violence – and it took Koleka Putuma on an international reading tour. With her latest work Hullo, Bu-bye, Koko, Come In, the young poet reacts to success and reflects on her position as a Black artist in White institutions, asking: ‘Why are you always hijacking our narratives with your gaze?’ With their powerful language, her texts examine the precarious proximity of hyper-visibility and disappearance, being swallowed up when one’s voice is hijacked and bought: ‘europe asks if it can touch my hair / backspace / europe touches my hair’. Together with artists from Cape Town, Putuma creates a musical-performative reading of her new poems for the Wiener Festwochen, radically questioning the points of view between audience and performers.