Tag Archives: OYO

Film Review: ‘Kapana’

Director: Philippe Talavera
Screenplay: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes
Cast: Adrino Visagie, Simon Hanga, Chanwill Vries, Elize de Wee, Mikiros Garoes, Jeremiah Jeremiah, Felicity Celento, Albertina Hainane, Foreversun Haiduwah, Lukas Paulus

Rating: ★★★

Apart from unapologetically taking male same-sex relationships to the silver screen, Philippe Talavera’s Kapana shows its worth by not deriding HIV. In so many ways the film is an intimate, charming queer-themed romantic drama which offers a fresh take on HIV/AIDS in the queer community.

Being another film from the activist group, Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO), Kapana can thrust HIV/AIDS onto the Namibian silver screen with its message of acceptance and love. Not problematic in delivering its message, the film was crafted with a compelling screenplay which helps make this a non-generic story that engages its audiences on a personal level.

Simon Hanga in Kapana

Kapana explores the love story between two Namibians who come from different walks of life. Award-winning actor Adriano Visagie stars in the film as George, an HIV positive gay man who falls in love with Simeon (Simon Hanga), a closeted Kapana (grilled beef strips) vendor. The film deserves applause for not relying on the popular and often true trope of homophobic, unsupportive family and friends. George, being an openly gay man receives great support and love from his family as seen through his mother (Felicity Celento), aunt (Elize de Wee), brother (Chanwill Vries) and coworkers played by Mikiros Garoes and Foreversun Haiduwah. The relationships between these friends and family offer a fresh and much-needed narrative on same-sex relationship, especially in Namibia which still criminalizes the sexual relationships between two men under the outdated sodomy law.

Simon Hanga and Adriano Visagie in Kapana.

Kapana is a win for director Talavera but most importantly because of his collaborative take on this film. He employed Senga Brockerhoff and Mikiros Garoes to craft the storyline and using one of the country’s best cinematographerS (Kit Hoffman) and film editors (Haiko Boldt) to put together the film. This film is in so many ways much better than the director’s 2018 film, Salute! and signals a lot of growth in the director’s film career.

While the film was put together impressively and its message communicated very smoothly, I can however not say the same about the performances which were stale and forced. This film had the potential of being very emotional and gripping, however, that aspect fell flat due to the lacklustre performances which I suppose come from the film requiring so much vulnerability that almost all actors just couldn’t pull off. ‘Fake acting’ and overacting does nothing but ruin films and Kapana had an abundance of this. Alas, it was refreshing to see newcomer actors Hanga and Vries give such stunning performances at their first go and equally refreshing to see the versatile side of de Wee.

But Kapana is worthy of your time and will give you a different look into queer relationships, relationships with someone living with HIV while highlighting the power of love.

If you want to see Kapana, there are still a couple of screenings at Ster Kinekor Grove Mall, Windhoek on 14 ,15 & 18 August 2020. Time:18:00. Price: N$60.00.

Three Years After It’s Initial Release, Kukuri Gains Traction

Kukuri is an Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) film dealing with the issue of child marriages in the rural parts of Namibia featuring a largely inexperienced cast. The actors, except George Antonio (Salute!), were first-time performers and were sourced and trained on film location in the Kavango region.

This is probably why the film after its initial 2018 release is only picking up the interest of festivals and award shows this year. A screening (or release) of the film was hosted in Windhoek earlier this year and since then the film has been getting a lot of attention.

Kukuri has been nominated at the 7th Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA7) for Best Movie Southern Africa, selected to screen at the 2020 Garden Route International Film Festival (GRIFF) in South Africa and now most recently it was announced that the film will be screened at the Ananse Cinema International Film Festival in Ghana.

For a film shot in a community deep in a remote village, using the languages and starring its locals, Kukuri is doing pretty well. First-time performer Hanty Kashongo as the girl forced to grow up quick (Kukuri) gave an exceptional performance. Antonio, Nangana Mushavanga, Diyanni Longwani, Renah Xuesom and Mbango Munyima complemented the film well too.

George Antonio as ‘Chindo’ in Kukuri (Image: Provided)

Director and Producer of Kukuri, Philippe Talavera is profoundly proud of his film, saying if the message delivered in his film helps prevent one girl from getting married off at an early age, the film was worth it.

“Child marriage does not happen only in Namibia, but in several countries on the African continent. Kukuri is therefore relevant in South Africa, Ghana, and other countries too. The practice must end. We are in the 21st century so let us be in the 21st century and let some harmful cultural practices become things of the past,” Talavera says.

OYO Presents International Dance Event

The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO), with support from the FirstRand Foundation, will present a dance event through the Fun2Dance platform, which collaborates with creatives from outside Namibia in order to see how they conceptualise dance.

On Saturday, 19 October 2019, the Fun2Dance platform is collaborating with French Dancer and Choreographer, William Domiquin to work on the issue of HIV, in anticipation for the World AIDS Day.

Domiquin, a graduate from the International School of Dance in Paris, France, was trained in hip-hop from the age of 10 and also specialising in Contemporary and Jazz.

After graduation, Domiquin specialised in mixing his different skills: his style can best be described as hip hop with a hit of contemporary and a jest of jazz. He is a performer, touring nationally in France and internationally with different companies. He appears in commercials and music video. Over the past few years, he has also choreographed many young dancers in France.

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William Domiquin explaining a movement (Images: Joshua Homateni)

Domiquin, the OYO Dance Troupe, led by El-Junita Philander and Desmond Kamerika, with Mary-Jane Andreas, Nelawrence Somseb, Sophie Janser, Jeffrey Ndjahera, Frieda Haufiku and Seun Goaseb, will be joined for the event by renowned Namibian dancers West Uarije, Daniel Kuhlmann and LeClue Job.

OYO Director Philippe Talavera said the OYO Dance Troupe will present, by popular demand, Menarche, a dance piece which premiered in August at the Warehouse Theatre, while Domiquin will present a solo.

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West Uarije with OYO dance troupe trying a travelling section.

“The whole group (OYO dancers and guests) will present brand new work choreographed by Domiquin. It will be an exciting evening. For those who can’t join us, we will have a live stream on social media,” Talavera said.

The event will be hosted at the FNCC on Saturday 19 October at 19:00. Entrance is free of charge.

Visual Artist Kevork Mourad Talks Upcoming ‘Well Wish Ya’ Collab with OYO

(Image: Kevork Mourad- Facebook)

North Syrian born visual artist, Kevork Mourad, received his Master of Fine Arts from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Art. Currently living in New York, he is a visual artist of the Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and has performed in the States, Canada, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Qatar, among others.

Kevork will do multi-media collaborative work on the upcoming Well Wish Ya production with the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) Dance Troupe at the National Theatre of Namibia on  27 and 28 March.

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Here is our interview with him:

Talk to us about your collaboration with OYO for Well Wish Ya.
I am very excited about this collaboration. The group is new to me, so I’ve prepared work based on what I’ve imagined of them. I will complete the piece on the ground with them, incorporating ideas and lines based on their movements and energy. I want to be a vehicle to transmit the history we are talking about.

This exhibition explores the meaning of the first genocide of the twentieth century and you are known to use printmaking, animation, and collaborative performance to bear witness to tell painful histories. Is there a particular conception of genocide your work will address?
The Herero-Nama genocide and the Armenian genocide are just a few years apart. For me, it’s interesting because all the artists are descendants of people who suffered in similar ways, and it will not be hard to find a common voice with which to talk about the subject. The ideas I like to work with are those of the importance of remembrance and how to honour and use the stories and pain of our ancestors.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?
I knew from the age of six that drawing was my biggest passion. When I realized that people were moved by what I had created, I knew that this was my path. Perhaps the pivotal moment for me was when I had my first solo show in Aleppo at the age of 18, where I sold three pieces; without consulting my parents, I used that income to get myself to Armenia to study art, which was the beginning of my professional career.

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
For my performance pieces, once I know the storyline, I divide the piece into sections and try to create unexpected moments for the audience. I also keep several moments of improvisation in which I can respond to what is happening on stage. In terms of technicality, I use acrylic paint on paper, mostly, and I use my own technique to create lines. I pre-create animations and also project live pieces created in real-time during the performance.

Do you have any artistic passions other than visual art? If so, how do you feel that your creative passions overlap?
I’m very inspired by music and literature, the ideas and rhythms of which find their way into my art. I’ve always created my art with music in mind if not played during creation. My performance art is indeed linear in the way of music. I use the stories and narratives I derive from literature to inform my pieces and my ideas on the world.

Does connecting with your inner self play a role in your creative process and success as an artist?
I feel that while my art strives to address things about the society around me, it is also intensely personal derived from my experiences as a person. I know that I’ve always been able to escape into my work and that creation becomes a way of exploring what is in my mind and heart as well as a way of processing what I observe around me.

You currently live and work in New York. Does New York’s culture in any way inspire or influence your art?
I think I have become more politicized and aware of things since coming to New York. The wealth of culture—museums, theatres, concert halls—and the energy of the place that is created by the incredible gathering of amazing minds and talents in one place has pushed me to create more and has helped me develop my voice. My art is very much informed by my being a Syrian-Armenian immigrant, but it is by being in New York that I have solidified my identity and pushed myself to express what I am meant to.

Do you believe that true creative expression can exist in the digital world?
Of course. The digital world is just a new form of preserving culture. It doesn’t matter if the work is on paper or in a digital format. It’s a medium like others, and if used well, it can help you share work instantaneously with people around the world, which creates a different rhythm, and therefore, shape to the work.

Do you believe in the concept of formal training for aspiring artists?
Absolutely. You need formal training. You can’t underestimate the audience who will see if your work is devoid of training. You must know your art and its history fully before you can bend the rules and create your own voice, which might seem, overtly, to have nothing to do with your schooling, but knowing your history and the history of your art is crucial to having a strong voice.

What is your greatest indulgence in life?
To be with my family, to bake bread and listen to a beautiful piece of music.

Besides Kevork and the OYO dance troupe, Well Wish Ya will feature guest performers, West Uarije, Nikhita Winkler, Monray Garoeb, Daniel Kuhlmann and LeClue Job. Tickets are available at Computicket for N$120 and N$150 at the door.