Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species

 
 
On Thursday, 30 July 2009, the Two Oceans Aquarium, in collaboration with the UCT Writers Series, will present DEEP: A Night of Creative Currents featuring Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species.  The event is in support of the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-School Programme.
   
Tickets cost R40.00 and include entrance to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a free glass of wine on arrival.  Fairview will present cheese and wine and a cash bar will be available. Art, and books from the Book Lounge, will be on sale.  Doors open at 18h30 with performances starting at 19h00.
   
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Writers and poets have been inspired to speak and write in celebration and defence of the oceans.  In today’s rushed world there are fewer and fewer places available for contemplation and creativity, especially in cities.  Just as our creative spaces and practitioners are under threat, so too are our oceans and their creatures.  DEEP is an opportunity to celebrate the oceans and some of South Africa’s most creative artists.
  
Central to DEEP is the launch of Hyphen, a debut collection of poems by Tania van Schalkwyk, which is published by the UCT Writers Series.  Included in this collection are a number of poems inspired by the sea including ‘Siren Song’, ‘Abyss’, ‘Lionfish’ and ‘Water’.  Lindsey Collen, author of The Rape of Sita, Mutiny and Boy, and twice winner of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Africa, said, “Tania van Schalkwyk’s poems are warm, sensuous memories that often shock and surprise at the same time … They are not just on inner space, but are poems of place, as they move from islands to the veld, from cities to the desert”.  No stranger to the Aquarium, having assisted with the launch of Shoreline Café, van Schalkwyk also curated DEEP in collaboration with Michelle Matthews of Electric Book Works.
  
The launch of Hyphen will be supported by a collection of three minute sea-inspired flash readings and performances by select poets and writers, including Gus Ferguson, Justin Fox, Sarah Lotz, Helen Moffett, Malika Lueen Ndlovu, Henrietta Rose-Innes and a collaborative piece by Toni Stuart, Michael Mwila Mambwe & James Jamala Safari.  The MC for the evening is the inimitable Suzy Bell; writer, columnist and pop culture aficionado.
  
Ferguson has had seven collections of poems and two books of cartoons published; Fox is deputy editor and senior photographer at Getaway magazine; Lotz is a scriptwriter-cum-krimi author with an insatiable greed for the macabre; Moffett has recently published her first collection of poems; Ndlovu is dedicated to creating indigenous multi-media works in line with her personal motto ” healing through creativity”; Rose-Innes won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2008; Stuart works with young people, using poetry as a means of self-expression; DRC born Mambwe’s has performed on various stages from the Cape Town Book Fair to the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry Exchange and Jamala Safari’s earliest artistic exposure came in the form of theatre at a young age in Bukavu, South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  
These well-known word-artists have a wealth of performance experience and publications behind their names and will give voice to the ocean’s deepest secrets.
  
Word art by Gabeba Baderoon, Gus Ferguson, Tania van Schalkwyk and others in The Vinyl Collection, will come to life against the backdrop of smaller exhibits in the Aquarium.  Baderoon is the author of three collections of poetry and was the recipient of the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry in 2005.
  
The evening will also feature seven short films including three from the City Breath ProjectWaitless, The Electrician and Omdat ek die stadsrumoer (Because I chose the city noise).  The writer of the latter film was blinded at age four, but at sixty-nine, still has vivid memories of visiting an aquarium.  A film, alpha, by Kai Lossgott, curator of the City Breath Project, will also be shown.  City Breath is an urban oral history video project which seeks to interrogate the official understandings of South African cities conveyed in television, film and other mass media.
  
Other film pieces include Umbilical Cord by poet/filmmaker Shelley Barry and Sea Orchestra and The Tale of How by the Blackheart Gang.  Barry’s films have been screened at major festivals and events around the world and The Tale of How has won numerous international awards, including “Best Independent Film” at the Bradford Animation Festival in London in 2006.
  
Artists Rebecca Townsend and Colwyn Thomas will show their work which will be available for purchase. Townsend works predominantly with glass and creates sculptural glass vessels that reveal the magic of the ordinary things we live with every day.  ‘Kelp’ by Thomas is a 12-part light-box installation which, according to Thomas, “is a rumination on some of the changes that take place when we grow up.”. Thomas is influenced by traditional and modern Japanese art and his works often show both humans and fish or animals in dreamscapes animated by trailing clouds, plants or jellyfish tendrils.
  
Local band Benguela will take to the stage against the spectacular backdrop of the I&J Predator Exhibit.  The trio, including Ross Campbell, Alex Bozas and Brydon Bolton, has played at many of the festivals around South Africa.  According to James Garner, “Benguela’s sound is an atmospheric, uncompromisingly adventurous fusion of constantly shifting elements…”  The name ‘Benguela’ is taken from the cold current running up the West Coast of southern Africa and reflects both the flowing nature of the music as well as being geographically representative of where the band came together and the climate in which they live.
  
Proceeds from DEEP will go towards the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-School Programme.  This programme provides the opportunity for children from previously disadvantaged schools to visit the Aquarium and to discover the wonders and beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants.  Such an opportunity can be a life-changing experience for these children and instill a deep and long-lasting appreciation for the oceans.
  
Tickets cost R40.00 and include entrance to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a free glass of wine on arrival.  Fairview will present cheese and wine and a cash bar will be available.  Art, and books from the Book Lounge, will be on sale.  Doors open at 18h30 with performances starting at 19h00.  For more information contact:
  
Helen Lockhart
Communications & Sustainability Manager
Two Oceans Aquarium
Tel: 021-418 3823
Email: helen.lockhart@aquarium.co.za
Website: www.aquarium.co.za

5 thoughts on “Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species

  1. jasonbkohl

    They say that Sylvia Plath was the last widely read poet in the world. The last one you could bring up in a social situation and reasonably expect people to know what you were talking about. I will have to check out some of the poets in this article. Thanks for the post!

  2. christine

    What fun! I love the poster. What a great idea to host poetry and music at an aquarium. It would be cool to do world-wide aquarium poetry events. You have written a beautiful poem about the sea, the one inspired by Annie’s photo.

  3. Julie

    Oh, yes. I wish I could go, too. Anything to do with the ocean is my cup of tea, especially an event like this. But I enjoy the poetry you have shared with us, so that is a gift. Thank you!

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