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Title: Country Imagined
Starring: Johnny Clegg
After the huge success hit of SHORELINE now Johnny Clegg takes us on a journey to discover the South African imagination.
A Country Imagined takes us on an unusual and rewarding journey through South Africa as it explores the landscapes that have inspired artists, writers, musicians and dancers for centuries.
Presented by one of South Africa’s most loved and famous musicians and dancers Johnny Clegg who is also an anthropologist.
A Country Imagined takes us through South Africa’s most beautiful and culturally layered spaces and through this, we explore the rich histories of art in the country.
Johnny Clegg combines a unique ability to learn, teach and perform simultaneously. In the series he performs with musicians and dancers in remote villages around the country, talks to artists, both famous and unknown, hikes the Drakensberg to find the best rock art and views, travels in hot air balloons, helicopters and boats. To this he brings his insight, expertise and a great deal of humour, offering viewers a rich and accessible perspective on South African art.
The series introduces us to South African artists and their work as well as the landscapes they create from. Some, like Nadine Gordimer, George Pemba, Olive Schreiner, Hugh Masekela, Gerard Sekoto, William Kentridge and David Goldblatt are known around the world. Others will soon be. Some , like the beaders and potters of remote rural villages have mostly produced works without signatures. A Country Imagined brings them all together , featuring work by more than 400 artists , through a fascinating exploration of art and artists set against a backdrop of spectacular scenery and a vexed and dramatic history.
Produced by Curious Pictures, the series took 2 years to make. It involved traversing 80,000 kilometres, often over difficult terrain, scouring regional art galleries and private collections for artwork of lesser-known artists and literally hundreds of hours of research. Shot on HD, with remarkable aerial, historical and time-lapse photography.
THE REEF , THE RIBBON OF GOLD:
Beginning at the site of an ancient meteorite impact, Johnny Clegg follows an elusive thread of gold through the Witwatersrand reef. From the bleached flatlands of the West Rand to the looming headgear of the East Rand, and down the world’s deepest gold mine, he discovers the fascinating ways in which artists have imagined these unlikely landscapes.
EASTERN CAPE ,THE FRONTIER BETWEEN:
Johnny Clegg makes his way through the densely layered histories and extraordinary landscapes of the Eastern Cape. From the Great Fish River to the towering Amathole Mountains; from the birthplaces of Nelson Mandela and Enoch Sontonga to the site of a devastating prophecy, he meets artists, dancers and musicians who bring their own commentaries and creative responses to these stories and places.
NORTHERN CAPE , THE BURIED SECRET:
Johnny Clegg uncovers deep, forgotten histories as well as buried stories in the Northern Cape as they unfold along the great Gariep River. From ancient caves and ancient artworks, to sinister tales of watersnake spirits, he follows a surprisingly vital creative current that runs through this harsh, dry land.
KAROO , AN EMPTINESS THAT IS FULFILLING:
Johnny Clegg makes his way through obscure parts of the Karoo’s long, desolate stretches, where he encounters some of the area’s most surprising and inspiring art and artists. From eccentric seers, Karoo drag queens and masterful storytellers, all the way from the Valley of Desolation and down to Die Hel, strange hidden treasures are everywhere.
FREE STATE , A SPIRITUAL PLAIN:
Travelling through the intoxicating golden light of the Free State, past its vast farmlands and sandstone koppies, to extraordinary ancient rock art and other sites of deep spiritual connection, Johnny Clegg follows this radiant trail of space and spirit to experience the lesser known nature of this region and the art it has inspired.
CAPE TOWN – The Mountain in the Sea:
From the majestic beacon of Table Mountain, to the lush vineyards at its foot; and from fields of fresh water springs to the city’s harsh and dusty flatlands, Johnny Clegg makes his way through Cape Town discovering the many perspectives of what Cape means, and has meant over centuries, to a host of different people.
KLEIN KAROO/GARDEN ROUTE , ANCIENT PATHWAYS:
Johnny Clegg follows ancient pathways from the forested coastline of the Garden Route, over the mountains into the Little Karoo. These paths lead him to encounter tales of fabled elephants, giant trees and mermaids that hide in rocky pools; and the artists who have imagined them.
JOZI , A TERRIBLE BEAUTY:
Unlike the classically beautiful natural landscapes of many other parts of the country, Johnny Clegg explores the particular, peculiar beauty of the City of Gold. From its concrete jungle to its urban forest; from its snaking roadways to its urban sprawl, the art this city produces is bold, gutsy, urban and forthright.
KWAZULU-NATAL LIVING THE PAST THROUGH THE PRESENT:
Johnny Clegg heads into the heart of Zululand , his creative and spiritual home , and up to the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, to discover the multiple ways in which ancient traditions play out in contemporary living. This epic and privileged journey through Johnny’s heartland reveals the complex histories and incredible creative legacies that have so richly shaped this region.
THE FAR NORTH – THE MAGICAL NORTH
Johnny Clegg ventures beyond the Tropic of Capricorn to a region of the country shrouded in mystery, and the site of some of the most extraordinary and prolific artistic production in South Africa. Travelling from the ancient ruins of Mapungubwe and the northern baobab forests, visiting sacred rivers, waterfalls, and a mock burial, Johnny is guided through and further into the deep intrigue of this region.
TRAVELLING NORTH WEST – THE PLACE OF STORYTELLERS:
The north-western parts of the country have long been home to some of South Africa’s most revered and often flamboyant storytellers, and Johnny Clegg is following their thread. From those who have magically spun yarns with words to artists whose visions allow us other ways of seeing, Johnny makes his way , partly onboard a hot air balloon , through this wonderfully imaginative bushveld terrain, from Mafikeng to Groot Marico, and Mabopane to the Magaliesberg.
MPUMALANGA , COMING HOME:
Known mostly as bushveld and ,Big Five, country, Johnny Clegg travels through Mpumalanga to find what else exists beyond boyhood dreams of adventure and taming the wilderness. For centuries this region has played host to people migrating from many other countries. Johnny follows the histories and arts of some of them, through this place that for many, at some stage, has represented home.
DRAKENSBERG , TAMING THE DRAGON:
This final episode of the series finds Johnny Clegg high up in caves in the towering and majestic landscape of the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal. Against this awe-inspiring backdrop, Johnny contemplates the extraordinary art of the San, and other artists whose creative ventures bring humanity to this vast, imposing terrain , ,taming the dragon,.