Cape Town: Jay Pather

Click to enlarge
Jay Pather near his Cape Town apartment.

Jay Pather near his Cape Town apartment. Image: Brett Rubin

1 of 6
Pather at work in a local cafe.

Pather at work in a local cafe. Image: Brett Rubin

2 of 6
Pather and his assistant choreographer Leila Anderson at work.

Pather and his assistant choreographer Leila Anderson at work. Image: Brett Rubin

3 of 6
At rest with Anderson.

At rest with Anderson. Image: Brett Rubin

4 of 6
Hands on District Six Museum, one of Pather’s public art spaces.

Hands on District Six Museum, one of Pather’s public art spaces. Image: Brett Rubin

5 of 6
Pather staged shows at the nearby Turkish Baths last year.

Pather staged shows at the nearby Turkish Baths last year. Image: Brett Rubin

6 of 6

For one week of the year, visual artists, composers and choreographers take over Cape Town, installing and presenting provocative work in its public spaces. This year Infecting The City, the festival Jay Pather curates, features 52 works by national and international artists. His festival audience combines with the public and “an unlikely sharing of art” occurs, which is in line with Pather’s vision.

“I’m interested in bringing anarchic ideas into conventional and public spaces,” he says.

Pather, 53, is an art maker too, and describes his own work as mixed media, site-responsive performance that has its roots in choreography and visual arts. His Julius Caesar was presented as several installations in 14 rooms of the Cape Town City Hall recently.

“Artists in the city make work that reveals the contradictions of a beautiful landscape and the ugliness of the continued legacy of poverty,” says Pather, who believes the real test for Cape creatives is how they remap the city, yanking it from its horrible past. It’s what drives the Durban native (he was New York-based before making Cape Town his home seven years ago).

Pather is tuned to its heartbeat, living in an apartment in the city centre. He walks everywhere, thriving on the urban energy spilling out of the cafes, bars and shops on nearby Long Street.

“There is a strong appetite in this city for innovation and risk,” he says. “The re-imagining of proud indigenous traditions with modernity are a great source of inspiration.”

Pather Recommends:

  • A night at Intimate Theatre, a small gem of a venue devoted to works of innovation.
  • A night at 021, a club with cutting edge music (and on the weekends, drag from the Cape Flats), located in Green Point.
  • Bread, Milk & Honey for a mix of healthy salads and decadent dark chocolate tarts.

For more on Cape Town, click here.

More places

Kuala Lumpur: Out & About

Kuala Lumpur: Out & About

Incredible street food and never-ending shopping are two of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous virtues, but dig a little deeper and you can also find an edgy side to Malaysia’s capital city.
Canberra: Out & About

Canberra: Out & About

We meet the cosmopolitan masterminds shedding the city’s bureaucratic grey suit in favour of a more urbane and vibrant get-up.
Dubai: out and about

Dubai: Out and About

From a sandy backwater to glitzy mega-city, the exponential growth of Dubai has produced a heady mix of old world and new.
Helsinki: out and about

Helsinki: out and about

From neoclassicism to Scandinavian modernism, this near-Arctic city continues to grow its rich history of design excellence.

Most read

Paris without a map

Paris without a map

From Mondrian to Margiela: a very personal blending of influences – design and otherwise – make this French apartment a veritable tour de force.
The skyline shifter

The skyline shifter

Ground is soon to be broken for The Pacifica, a soaring new apartment complex that has the ability to reinvigorate an enclave of Auckland’s downtown.
Casa Perfection

Casa Perfection

A house in the hills of Los Angeles has recently become a showroom for The Future Perfect, a design store with additional locations in Manhattan and San Francisco.
Made to measure

Made to measure

This sophisticated Moscow home shows how custom-designed spaces, furniture and fittings can take the uniformity out of apartment living.
Well connected

Well connected

Like a well kept secret, a renovated 1930s bungalow hides a black steel and glass addition from the street.
Homes for barter

Homes for barter

Urbis chats to the co-founders of a home exchange website aimed solely at creatives about trading their highly curated abodes with perfect strangers.