Desert Festival Afrikaburn Celebrates Decade Anniversary of Elevating Art
March 19th, 2016MASS EDMC STAFF
Afrikaburn is a radical participant-driven event that beckons artists to congregate in the arid deserts of South Africa. Akin to Burning Man, the weeklong gathering thrives as a decentralized community where money is worthless, gifting rules, and human collaboration is invaluable. This year marks the decade anniversary of the Burn, and along with it a slew of new activities, themes, and anarchic freedom.
Every April, Afrikaburn transforms the Karoo desert plains in the Northern Cape Province into Tawnka Town – a melting pot gala welcoming artists and travelers who dictate their own society. The non-profit art festival is a total culmination of what each person contributes, the only rule to respect one another. The immersion found here lies within mutual willingness to let go of conventional technology and embrace the natural power of art. Sculptures, monuments and paintings only represent some of the more traditional mediums created on-site. This year’s theme is X: not just the Roman symbol that marks its anniversary, but a universal icon that can be applied many ways.
In a humorous act of self-awareness, a handy “WTF is that?” guide is provided to each guest who may find themselves asking the same question about the vast variety of art installations and group events taking place all over town. The culture shock of Tawnka Town’s boundless expression is what draws inhabitants together though, the guide becoming only a memento by week’s end.
Only minor facilities such as medical aid, road signs, and toilets are provided; “radical self-reliance” is the overarching theme that calls for each person to care for another in an arid, desolate setting rarely seen elsewhere on Earth. Those who have made the pilgrimage to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada may see this as their next calling. The two events are spiritually aligned and feature ceremonial art-burning, though Afrikaburn forges its own uniqueness in setting and size.
Just 11,700 tickets were made available for the public and have been sold already, but the festival is offering a secure ticket exchange program (or STEP) in which participants can buy and sell tickets fairly, with no price gouging allowed. Creative fundraising projects are encouraged for those who dream of a cultural landscape like Afrikaburn, but may be short-handed on travel expenses.
Nomadic at its core, few art gatherings offer such a grandiose escape from the structure of the civilized world like Afrikaburn. Wanderlust combined with artistic magnitude find a fiercely human home in the South African desert.
Written by contributor Eddie Richard. Find him on Facebook here.