Heating up

The inaugural HEAT Winter Arts Festival takes over Cape Town.

Former Design Indaba Emerging Creative and multimedia artist Charity Vilakazi will present a solo exhibition with Kalashnikovv Gallery as part of the new HEAT Winter Arts Festival in Cape Town's city centre from 11 to 21 July 2024.


Created to boost visitors to galleries in the city centre during winter months and to facilitate another platform for live performances, HEAT Winter Arts Festival will feature 14 participating art galleries presenting curated exhibitions that speak to the theme of the inaugural event, ‘Common Ground’.


Vilakazi, who was part of the 2022 Design Indaba Emerging Creative cohort and an ANNA Award Finalistin 2023, has participated in numerous group exhibitions locally and internationally, and headlined four solo exhibitions including one at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair in 2023. Working primarily with the mediums of painting and photography, her practice centres around the interrogation and scrutiny of African mythology, folklore and the self (spirituality, ritual and feminism).


Her exhibition for the festival, titled ‘Alikho izulu?’ (Is there no heaven?), conducts an exploration into the complexities of grief and connection, stemming from the profound impact Vilakazi’s grandmother’s passing had on her. Her adoration for her Mtshuku (grandmother) is clear throughout this series. Through paintings and personal reflections, she reveals how discovering her old diary entries journaling this moment awakened long dormant memories and emotions.


‘The introspective journey in Alikho izulu? uncovers a new spiritual connection Vilakazi feels towards her Mtshuku, bridging the gap between memory, imagination, and dreams,’ writes Kalashnikovv. ‘The vibrant dreamscapes of her paintings invite viewers into a realm where Vilakazi’s childhood stories (as told by Mtshuku) and ancestral spirits intertwine. By capturing both the essence of her dreams and the wisdom passed down by her grandmother, this body of work allows Vilakazi to transform grief into a celebration of spiritual reunion.’


Vilakazi will exhibit alongside more than 60 other artists from across Africa, including Design Indaba alum Tony Gum, Kylie Wentzel, Nina Kruger, Sarafina Naisula, Dion Cupido, Norman O’Flynn, Buqaqawuli Thamani Nobakada and Kilmany-Jo Liversage. 


Complementing the visual arts programme are opera, jazz, and theatre programmes featuring young performers. Highlights include operas curated by Jeremy Silver from Opera UCT; a jazz programme curated by Slowlife that includes Operation Khataza and The Johnny Wxlf Experience; and theatre works by Rob Van Vuuren, Double Impact, Furies & Co, Andi Colombo, Aldo Brincat, Sue Pam Grant, Okwamanzi Arts Junction and Pichi Keane.



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