- Website: clareloveday.co.za
Composer Clare Loveday has lived and worked in Johannesburg her whole life. With a doctoral degree in Music Composition from the University of Witwatersrand, she took jobs playing in musicals and theatre venues around South Africa. Then, after a sojourn playing on cruises in the South Atlantic, she returned to the city.
No matter her travels, she always finds herself back in that interstitial city. Thus, it invariably grounds her work. She believes that one’s place in the world, not only the location itself but their relationship to it, will naturally influence and inform creative endeavours. From trends and attitudes to mood, it all finds its way in. This holds true of You Will Find Your People Here.
It is through this lens that Loveday explores the complexity of life in a post-colonial city; navigating how the city changes, how it stays the same, and how these things relate to her experience of it.
Her work with Mareli Stolp on the 2014 public arts festival explores these questions in Cape Town, but in You Will Find Your People Here, she returns home. Through the stories of women who have moved to Johannesburg, she encounters the city anew.
Oft unheard in the symphony of city life, Loveday is interested in elevating specifically women’s voices. Caroline Wanjiku Kihato’s research, and the women therein represented, opened the door to a wealth of experiences quite foreign to Loveday. Their stories of strangeness, mobility, and belonging broke open the continent and poured its contents into her palms—no less complicated for having been heard.
How, the collaborators asked themselves, could they encompass these experiences? Do them justice? They grappled with questions of representation and voice, taking up space versus making space. Along the journey, artist Awo Tsegah joined the trio, merging both data and art with a bold and sensitive attentiveness to African women’s experiences.
Ultimately, the composition weaves together the plurality of voices, incorporating the danger and the hope in moments of harmony as well as dissonance. Just as the piece traces the emotional journeys that brought these women to Johannesburg, it has gone through its own. Emerging out of the collaboration between these women, and now, travelling from South Africa and Ghana to Italy.
She is excited to see the piece grow wings, to migrate and reach new audiences, with new experiences. Letting go, she thinks, is an important part of the creative process, in which a piece outgrows the artist and becomes its own entity. And so we see how this vulnerable, precious story finds its way into Europe via this relatively privileged route.