The women of a new international theater company in Rwanda perform our own stories at the largest art festival in Africa.
In February, five women — including a poet, a few actresses, a couple Americans, a pop star, a singer, a radio personality, several dancers, three Rwandans all raised in different countries, a puppeteer (okay, a few of us have more than one talent)— met in Kigali. We began a conversation by asking a question: what does it mean to be from a nation or represent one? And what that does that have to do with being a woman?
Out of this conversation has grown the first collaboration of Art Works Ink (in partnership with the esteemed Ishyo Art Center). Using movement, dance, poetry, puppets, personal testimony, and our wits, we've written a new theater piece. We explore questions of nations, bodies and borders, of what it means to be local in this messy, globalized world. We know there is more to Rwanda than gorillas and genocide, and more to America than hamburgers and imperialism. So we are taking this chance to explore the deeper potential for cultural exchange. Sky like sky pokes fun at difference, even as we search for the questions that bring us back to the human.
Sky like sky is invited to perform for four nights at the vibrant National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, the largest art festival in Africa. To do that, we need help. Travel within Africa isn’t cheap, and the festival is unable to provide housing for so many artists. We think our piece is timely and important and a moment to practice real cultural diplomacy, but we need help to do that. Your investment will help us pay for artist and technical fees, plane tickets, and lodging at the festival.
We know that we have something to say, and the talent to pull this off. So if you, like us, believe that African women need to be able to make more art than just baskets (though we do love baskets), and American women can contribute something to the conversation more than cultural tourism, help us take sky like sky to Grahamstown.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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We will name a cow for you. Cows are very important here in Rwanda, and we trust that you understand this is a honor. We cannot, however, guarantee the cow will respond to her new name.
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Postcard from Rwanda: Help us get started and one of our collaborators will send you a note abut how the rehearsals are going from here in Kigali.
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Postcard from South Africa: A little more will help us get all the way— we’ll send you a thank you postcard from lovely Grahamstown, South Africa.
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We'll send you a signed c.d. from cast member Solange, aka Rwandan pop star Liza. We'll throw in a signed copy of the script, too.
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One member of the cast will skype or call you on your birthday and sing. If you are lucky, this will be Liza. If you are not, it will be the poet, who doesn't sing well, but will sing with gratitude nonetheless.
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$100 Art artifact: We are diverse group of artists, so we will send you a new song, a hand painted poem, a visual collage, a print... something original. If you are somewhere where shipping is prohibitively expensive, your gift will be virtual, but still cool.) (Also, any of the previous rewards you care for. Also, a pair of tickets to sky like sky in Grahamstown.)
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We will negotiate with you an artistic favor. Perhaps we will interrupt a date you want to impress with a phone call to prove you have international friends... (And tickets, and talk to us, if there are other previously mentioned awards you want.)
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All of the below, and we will send you a headband or item of your choice from our costume designer, award-wining Ugandan fashion designer Stella Atal. (Check her out: http://ataldesigns.com, she's amazing)
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As this is a project about exchange and nations, we will send you in America a symbol of Rwanda- a milk jug (icyansi) or a beer jug (agacuma) or a basket (agaseke). If you are elsewhere, we will send you something amazing, and we promise it will not be a moldy hamburger.
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We will send you anything previously mentioned you could want. And, We will call you via skype (time difference and bandwith permitting), and talk about the play, and answer questions you might have. And if any of us are feasibly near any of you, we will do so in person. We will invite you to have a glass of milk with us virtually (unless, of course, you are lactose intolerant).
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Dream with us. Choose all or any previous offers, and we will bring you along to South Africa (flight costs permitting), and give you a walk-on role. And then will throw you an amazing party after. And we will call you Excecutive Producer or Our Patron Savior- whichever you prefer.
- (30 days)