Born in Umtata in the Eastern Cape, in 1984, Athi-Patra Ruga is a multi-disciplinary artist that uses a mixture of performance art, tapestry, fashion and many more mediums - including his own body, to express and explore the border-zones between fashion, performance and contemporary art.
His work, which is coated with multi-layered cultural under and overtones, exposes and subverts the body in relation to structure, ideology and politics. Ruga has been exhibiting work since 2006 and has had his work showcased at several prominent art events and galleries including Dak’Art - Biennale of African Contemporary Art, the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, the 55th La Biennale di Venezia, and MU Foundation in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Most recently, Ruga was included in the Phaidon book ‘Younger Than Jesus’, a directory of over 500 of the world’s best artists under the age of 33.
Set Design and Photography Le Turk Photographies - Chief Operator / Assistant : Athys de Galzain - Make up : mademoiselle MU - Hair Stylist : Pierre Saint Sever - Model : Anne-Laure B/ Mara De Nudée/Anne Emmanuelle Cha/Dyna Dagger/Morgane Humbert/ Audrey Elyksir - Stylist : Charlotte Laplace / Blackitten, styliste corsetière
Born Umtata, South Africa in 1984 and lives and works in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Exploring the border-zones between fashion, performance and contemporary art, Athi-Patra Ruga makes work that exposes and subverts the body in relation to structure, ideology and politics. Bursting with eclectic multicultural references, carnal sensuality and a dislocated undercurrent of humor, his performances, videos, costumes and photographic images create a world where cultural identity is no longer determined by geographical origins, ancestry or biological disposition, but is increasingly becoming a hybrid construct. A Utopian counter-proposal to the sad dogma of the division between mind and body, sensuality and intelligence, pop culture, craft and fine art, his works expresses the eroticism of knowledge and reconciles the dream with experience. (more)
“Athi-Patra Rugais one of a handful of artists, working in South Africa today, who has adopted the tropes of myth as a contemporary response to the post-apartheid era. Ruga has always worked with creating alternative identities that sublimate marginalized experience into something strangely identifiable.” (via)