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Friday, July 14, 2017


The Essence Festival – a partnership between sister cities Durban and New Orleans, is in its second year in Durban. Curate.a.Space have been appointed curators of the Visual Arts component. Our theme is Carnevale. This has been chosen in order to link with the New Orleans strong history of carnivals such as the Mardi Gras which is one of that city’s major tourist attractions as well as being a liminal space for its citizens who use this occasion to forget differences and celebrate as one.

Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian linguist and literary critic, used the term “carnivalesque” to characterize writing/actions that depict the de-stabilization or reversal of power structures, albeit temporarily, as happens in traditional forms of carnival.

Bakhtin in Rabelais and his World (1968), shows how this disruption can occur by mobilizing humour, satire, and grotesquery in all its forms. Transgressive social behaviour can thrive beneath the veneer of social order, constantly threatening to upend things.

Bakhtin's concept is often read as a utopian antidote to repressive forms of power everywhere and a celebration of the possibility for affirmative change. We need this now.

Durban will be celebrating the arts in an inclusive manner and Curate.a.Space invites artists from different parts of the city and the rest of the country to join them.

“Performance and ephemeral art will be part of the mix and we will take certain elements into the street with parades, street art and forays into lesser known areas around the city. The exhibition will be at ICC which will also serve as a springboard to venture into “secret” spaces and discover new things,” explains Carol Brown of Curate.A.Space.

The exhibition will run from September 28 to October 1. For more information if you wish to participate contact Curate.A.Space on email: