Exploring the borderlands between fashion, performance, and contemporary art, Athi-Patra Ruga’s practice exposes and subverts the body in relation to ideology and politics. His works are bursting with eclectic references and a carnal sensuality, cut with humour. His performances, videos, costumes, and photographic images bring a world into existence where cultural identity is no longer determined by geographical origins, ancestry, or biological disposition, but is increasingly a hybrid construct. Ruga’s work offers up a utopian counterproposal to the rigid dogma of division between mind and body, sensuality and intelligence, pop culture, craft, and contemporary art.
Ruga has been included in a number of significant exhibitions including AFRICA: Architecture, Culture and Identity at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark in 2015, and Public Intimacy at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) in the US in 2014. In 2015, Ruga performed The Elder of Azania at the 56th Venice Biennale, as part of the Johannesburg Pavilion’s program.