We investigate the personae of the sacred clowns, court jesters that have a long history in both Africa and Europe.
Sacred clowns, sometimes referred to as priest clowns, conjoin qualities within themselves that are easily thought of as opposites. They control and can play with boundaries between the sacred and the profane, challenging rules and authorities. They are fluid beings that create and dissolve phenomenal realities. They liquify reality.
Like kings, sacred clowns hold a spiritual and commanding position in society from which they can transgress human moral codes. They are permitted to provoke, parody, taunt, tickle and titillate. Therefore, the ritual clown must master the burlesque art of travesty, must learn to embody the ludicrous, the incongruous, the backwards, forwards, and upside-down .
For it is with inversion, the turning of cultural norms inside-out and wrong-side up, that traditional, spiritual, and societal values, social positions and identities are, with hilarity and irony, reaffirmed, inspired, redefined.
They parodying society in precarious times; they reveal and reconcile.
Sacred clown represents a reversal of the normal order, an opening to the chaos that preceded creation.
A project in collaboration with dramaturg Esther Severi.
Scared clowns series 1_#1 Old Kings get their hair cut off
SOLD TO THE BELGIAN MINISTERY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO DECORATE THE NEW BELGIAN EMBASSY IN SOUTH AFRICA
LION phase 4: KWANGA FOR SACRED CLOWNS
/ FLUID IDENTITIES
1st from left: The Pueblo clowns in the Kachina (practiced by the Pueblo Indians of the southwestern United States).
2nd from left: African ritual clown / Korèduga in his ritual equine costume.
3nd from left: Europese jester / Laughing jester, the Netherlands, circa 1500
right: Susuhunan jester who participates in the “Garebeg Moeloed” procession (circa 1920s) Java, Indonesia