Jemma Kahn is a theatre maker and artist based in Johannesburg. Working primarily in kamishibai, a form of Japanese illustrated theatre, Jemma has performed extensively both nationally and abroad. Somebody You’ve Already Painted Many Times from Memory is her first film.
Extended Artist Bio
Jemma Kahn is an artist working in theatre and visual arts, based in Johannesburg. Kahn studied Drama and Fine Art at Wits University. She graduated in 2006, winning the Leon Gluckman Prize for Best Creative Work for The Animals. Since 2012 she has worked primarily in the medium of kamishibai, Japanese ‘paper drama’ - an illustrated performance medium thought of as an intersection between prose and film (also considered the origin of Japanese manga). Her first kamishibai show The Epicene Butcher and Other Stories for Consenting Adults has been performed extensively both locally and internationally winning an the Jury Prize at Amsterdam Fringe in 2012 and an Archangel Award at the Brighton Festival in 2014. In South Africa The Epicene Butcher won a Silver Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in 2012 and was nominated for a Kanna at the KKNK in 2013 and a Fleur Du Cap for best solo performance in 2014.
In 2015 Kahn was one of the artists selected for the Johannesburg Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The experiments at the Biennale went on to become We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants, which is currently being performed both locally and internationally. We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants earned Kahn her second Fleur Du Cap nomination in 2016.
A new kamishibai show, an autobiographical work written by Jemma Kahn and Tertius Kapp and directed by Jane Taylor and illustrated by Kahn, In bocca al Lupo, commissioned by the National Arts Festival, debuted this year and will be staged in Johannesburg and Cape Town in 2017.
Somebody You’ve Already Painted Many Times from Memory is Kahn’s first foray into film making. A new video piece from Kahn is due to be completed at the end of 2016.
New Yorker cartoons were my first introduction to storytelling. I arrived at words through pictures. With words one can ignite the higher functions of the brain, but it is in visuals, particularly fast visuals that one engages the murky recesses, the reptilian thoughts. Until recently theatre has been the most satisfying medium for me in creating highly visual, lo fi social narratives. With my venture into film I hope to continue thinking humourously about the status between the picture and the word. I went into theatre with a cartoonists eye. Now I come to film with a performer’s one.
Somebody You’ve Already Painted Many Times from Memory
Fragments of a Portrait - Francis Bacon is an interview filmed 50 years ago between artist Francis Bacon and critic David Sylvester. I created a lip sync film based on this interview after being fascinated by the content for many years. Lip sync is traditionally a camp medium and I like that a camp undertone in this work jostles constantly with difficult intellectual concepts. Although when I set out to make Somebody You’ve Already Painted Many Times from Memory I had thought that the word would be the main focus, the starlet, of the finished work, it is the image, once again, that became much more important to me.
Chad Rossouw is an artist, writer, and a lecturer, based in Cape Town, South Africa. He has a Bachelor in Fine Art from Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) and a Masters degree at the same institution.
He has had two solo shows: 'A History of Failure' in 2012 at Brundyn + Gonsalves, Cape Town, and along with Charles Maggs, a show entitled 'Syndrome' in 2009 at Whatiftheworld / Gallery, Cape Town. He has been on numerous group shows, and examples of his work reside in the IZIKO South African National Gallery’s collection and the University of Cape Town’s collection.
Under the alias Robert Sloon he was founding editor of South African art blog ArtHeat. He has previously published in Art South Africa, The Mail & Guardian, The Big Issue, and has written for the London based Art Newspaper. He is the author of numerous catalogue essays, especially for young and emerging artists (see a collection of writing here). Chad is currently the editor of ArtThrob.
He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Cape Town.