Conversation with Water - performance exhibition

Sat Nov 12, 18:00 - Sat Nov 12, 20:30

Iziko South African Museum


Conversation with Water


Conversation with Water is planned as a gathering of sound artists, musicians and healers who will work with and through sound and vibration. Their origins are diverse and their work emanates from differing cultural streams. This collaborative weaving of sound will be pooled in the presence of the whale bones in the Whale Well, at the Iziko South African Museum.


The artists aim to invoke a meditative atmosphere celebrating the sacred through this performative exhibition, inviting an expanded awareness of all living beings who are held by the hydrosphere.

Participants are asked to enter the space of the Whale Well with corresponding receptivity.


Please arrive at 6 to be ready by 6.30 pm. Seating will be on the floor on cushions or chairs on the perimeters. There will be a fifteen-minute interval during the 2-hour long performance when drinking water will be served.

Derek Gripper


Derek Gripper is known for his groundbreaking technique for evoking the West African kora on the guitar. He has transcribed the complex music of Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté and infuses his interpretations of Bach’s music with lessons from the oral traditions of Africa. He has performed with Toumani Diabaté’s Symmetric Orchestra and classical guitar legend John Williams, and tours worldwide.

Since his two recordings documenting his translation of the works of Toumani Diabate, “One Night on Earth” (2011) and “Libraries on Fire” (2016) Gripper has been creating a body of original work around the theme of extended cyclical structures. Taking his cue from the improvisational language of West African griots, as well as returning to his early work re-inventing South Africa’s own cyclical ‘koortjie’ tradition, Gripper continues to expand the guitar’s harmonic and expressive potential inspired by the simplicity of the acoustic guitar, one of music’s most personal instruments. His recent recordings, including “A Year of Swimming” (2020) and “Billy Goes to Durban,” (2021) dovetail between original compositions, spontaneous improvisation and recitations of works by composers like J.S. Bach, Arvo Pärt, Salif Keita, Fanta Sacko and Baaba Maal, bringing seemingly disparate traditions and musical practices together in a seamless guitar experience like no other.  


Sisonke Papu


Sisonke Papu is a multidimensional conduit who explores storytelling through writing, photography, sound, film and conceptualization. His work explores spatial, emotional and spiritual temporalities by engaging ideas of everydayness, the real and imaginary, dreams and memory, the unseen, as well as the mythical, ritual and cosmic. Born in New Payne, Mthatha, Sisonke Papu is the founder of ISPILI Network, a transmedia platform dedicated to shifting the creative energy of the Eastern Cape.


Guy Buttery


“Guy Buttery is something of a National treasure”, says South Africa’s leading newspaper, The Mercury. As an internationally recognised musician, this multi-instrumentalist enjoys invitations to play sell-out performances all over the globe. The USA, UK, Australia, France, Brazil, and Italy have all welcomed him back year after year. However, to simply label Guy Buttery as one of South Africa’s musical phenoms would be an injustice. His international role has surpassed merely performing concerts to foreign audiences. It has evolved into one as an ambassador of South African music, inspiring people across the world with his homegrown style at the very heart of his talent and tenacity. Guy’s distinct unification of South African guitar music is the musical advocate for everything positive and beautiful about the place he calls home.


Iman Adams


Iman enjoys creative expression through multiple mediums, she is deeply interested in the human experience of being: suffering, loving, nature and worshipping. This is reflected in her explorations of sound and photography.


Nkosenathi Ernie Koela

Nkosenathi Ernie Koela (@Mntana.WeXhwele) is a PhD candidate specializing in

indigenous music therapies at the University of Cape Town. Koela’s interdisciplinary practice encompasses being an Afrikan multi-instrumentalist, he explores how healing practices through sound, create space that manifests spiritually and materially. Koela has been a performer and instrumentalist for over 16 years and plays a multitude of indigenous instruments from around the world. He also teaches others how to play traditional instruments with strong emphasis on the instruments' h’story, spiritual significance and importance. This he does as testament to his ancestry, the long line/s of traditional instrumentalists, diviners/ healers (amaGqirha namaXhwele) that run in his family, who are masters of traditional San, Bantu, and Nguni music/heritage. He released his first solo ‘Inkaba’ an Afro-Spiritual collection of dreams and soundscapes, (Brazil, Cape Town), (2018) and his second in 2021 (Embo Ethongweni).


Christina and Richard Goodall


Christina Goodall is a music teacher who has spent many years discovering ever-new ways of awakening people's listening capacities for the subtleties of sound and music. Accurate listening is a fast-fading faculty in our time and results in the loss of experience of much of the richness of life. Richard, her husband, facilitates the turning of this outer listening inward so that people discover their own source of inspiration for life.


This performance exhibition is hosted and supported by Iziko Museums of South Africa. It forms part of the Eitz Exhibition: A Ripple Effect, currently on show at the Association of Arts (AVA), Church Street, Cape Town, closing on 24 November 2022. The exhibition hopes to encourage urgent public dialogue around our most precious resource, Water.




Conversation with Water - performance exhibition
Iziko South African Museum
25 Queen Victoria St, Cape Town, 8000
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