Yesterday the performance Face Off by artist Ntando Cele took place in the Compagnie Theatre.
Ntando Cele is a South-African artist who uses irony and black humor in a performance focusing on her skin colour. From the pathos of signing about the bosom of a continent where the lion sleeps while dressed in a cut-out plastic bag from Dirk reminiscent of tribal attire, playing on an empty Coca Cola bottle, to donning sparkly high-heeled shoes as a white contemporary art aficionado with a hypocritical discourse, Ntando’s performance is a tour de force.
The performance glided through moments of laugh-out-loud humor into simple but sublime representations of close-ups of her skin, to grotesque facial contortions. One of the many strong images was that of the artist’s face tied up with several layers of very thin string. The tied-up face was reminiscent of a wrinkled, old face, but, at the same time, seemed to metaphorically evoke the hardship of an entire race having to adapt and survive within the confines of our world. Perhaps the greatest strength of the artist was the ability of passing from self-irony to serious commentary, and back again.
Face Off played in the Compagnie Theatre twice yesterday as part of the NEU NOW Festival. Everyone we've asked about the show has only had words of praise.