Sharjah Art Foundation presents Project Lentswe, a long-term choir and community project initiated by musician and composer Neo Muyanga. Commissioned by the foundation, the project will manifest through a series of quarterly workshops, regular choir practice and periodic performances in Sharjah as well as an interactive online platform that hosts the project’s media materials and allows audiences to follow the project in real time.
A development of Muyanga’s Sharjah Art Foundation commission titled Naham, which took place during March Meeting 2018: Active Forms, Project Lentswe invites local singers, other musicians, storytellers and artists along with members of the public to take part. The project aims to go beyond the vocal ensemble and become an instrument for storytelling that can exist for many years to come, with members joining at various points in time. As was true for Naham, the exchange of cultures, voices and songs from around the world is fundamental to the overall goal of the project, which is to explore the complexities of our shared histories, multilingual environment and multicultural realities. The title of the project, ‘Lentswe’, comes from the South African language Sesotho and literally means ‘a voice’.
Running from Sunday, 15 December to Saturday, 21 December 2019, the first cycle of the Project Lentswe workshops will culminate in a public choir performance at Sharjah Art Foundation. During the workshop sessions, participants will learn to sing well-known covers and other songs shared by Muyanga and participants alike. After the first cycle of workshops, professional vocalists, alumni of the University of Cape Town Opera School, will work as instructors with Muyanga and the ensemble in future cycles.
A participant in Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019) and Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting 2018, Muyanga is a musician who tours widely as a solo performer and as a member of various bands. He has also composed music plays, chorus songs and a number of operatic works for chamber and large ensembles. He studied madrigal singing under the choral maestro Piero Poclen at the United World College in Trieste, Italy. Born in Soweto, South Africa, he currently lives and works in Cape Town.
Those interested in joining the workshop can apply by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit sharjahart.org.
About Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.
Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world.
Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Sharjah is the third-largest of the seven United Arab Emirates and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. In 1998, it was named UNESCO's 'Arab Capital of Culture' and has been designated the UNESCO ‘World Book Capital’ for the year 2019.
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa