By Ashley Jantjies
For some people juggling roles between writing, performing, curating, educating and doing cultural work would seem impossible but not so for Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja aka Jacques.
The versatile creative believes that there’s no need to balance these roles as they are interconnected and feed one another.
“I don’t know how I do it, I think somehow the work intersects. Theatre making is performance arts, its music and requires writing and hence I can also teach,” he said.
The UCT PhD student told unwrap.online that his work is inspired by real-life experiences and his ability to balance it all is made easier by practising his own work and added that his work as an artist is his thesis.
Sharing how he stumbled his way into his passion for performance arts, Nashilongweshipwe said his love for storytelling and self-expression shifted his path from studying Journalism to Theatre making, however, he is more into performance arts, which is less about acting and directing.
Admiring the works of Angelique Kidjo and the late Chiwoniso Maraire, performance arts not only became an outlet for the artist to find and share his voice but presented an opportunity to help others find theirs through the struggle.
“Where we come from as the people, our heritage and allowing to receive the art, the music from that lineage of the ancestors, which I see as a kind of an archive. An archive isn’t only a place where I go to, it’s a body. A body as an archive becomes very central in the themes I work with,” he said.
Currently working on a new project, he referred to ‘The Dance of the Rubber Tree’ a piece that he performed in museums, theatres, libraries, monument and heritage sites in countries like South Africa, Cameroon, Germany and Switzerland as his dream project.
However, he added that the ultimate dream project would be to sing with a massive band and orchestra in a public space.
Nashilongweshipwe told unwrap.online that as an educator the biggest challenge in the art industry is that local arts education needs a lot of work and advises that awareness should be created for artists and the public, for us to keep up with the world and produce world-class artists.