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Fine Art

21: Memories of Growing Up

When did you turn 21? What happened in that year? And how did you become adult? Swiss artist Mats Staub discussed these questions with a large group of people of all ages –Mr Simba turned 21 in 2015, Mrs Zirkelbach in 1939 He recorded their stories and then had them listen to their own answers three months later, while filming their facial expressions.

This resulted in the video installation 21 – Memories of Growing Up, in which the visitors can view and listen to these video portraits and stories, thus engaging in an intimate moment in the lives of the narrators of all ages and various backgrounds. The exhibition is growing from city to city and will present portraits from Switzerland, Germany, Serbia, Belgrade, England, Holland and South Africa. In South Africa Mats teamed up with Maia Marie and Nomonde Mbusi to create the work.

With the support of the Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council, 21– Memories of Growing Up will be exhibited at the District Six Museum in Cape Town, from 19 May – 24 June 2017, as part of the International Encounters Documentary Film Festival and the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and International Theatre Festival for Children and Young People. This exhibition will be the international version of the project including a selection portraits from all the countries 21 has visited.

In Johannesburg, the full South African work will be launched and shown at The Market Photo Workshop Gallery from 5 July – 9 August 2017.

“This is the transcendent aspect of the project: it breaks the boundaries of race, class and culture and it allows people who have grown up in disparate parts of the world and sometimes in vastly different circumstances to feel a deep connection with another human being.“ (Bongani Kona in Passagen)


Opening: 19 May 2017
District Six Homecoming Centre: 15A Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, 8000
Admission free
Exhibition Open to Public: Monday to Saturday, 09h00 – 16h00, Sunday and Public Holidays closed.

Concept | Mats Staub
Collaboration in South Africa | Maia Marie, Nomonde Mbusi
Camera | Matthias Stickel, Benno Seidel, Sifiso Khanyile
Sound | Andrea Brunner, Mandla Nkuna

Scenography | Monika Schori
Translation | David Tushingham
Technical Support| Stefan Goebel, Edmund Gatshenie
Head of production | Elisabeth Schack, Maia Marie, Pam Dlungwana
Production | zwischen productionen

Co-production | Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt, Germany), Festival Theaterformen (Hannover, Germany), Museum für Kommunikation (Bern, Switzerland), Gessnerallee (Zurich, Switzerland), KC Grad (Belgrade, Serbia), Kunstfest Weimar (Germany), Kaserne Basel, Museum der Kulturen (Basel, Switzerland), Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria), Theater Freiburg (Freiburg, Germany), Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival (Groningen, Netherlands)

With the support of | Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Migros-Kulturprozent, Stadt Zürich Kultur, Kanton Zürich Fachstelle Kultur

The exhibition runs from 20 May – 25 June 2017; is open to public Monday to Saturday, 9AM – 4PM, Sunday and Public Holidays closed; admission is free.