Acclaimed South African artist heads to UK

Anthea Moys

Award-winning South African artist Anthea Moys.

Acclaimed South African artist Anthea Moys will be creating new works across Birmingham as part of the UK-wide Afrovibes festival.

From Monday 20 to Sunday 26 October 2014, Afrovibes celebrates the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa at such venues such as mac birmingham, The Drum and Birmingham Rep. As part of the festival programme, Friction Arts are hosting a Township Cafe at mac birmingham and also The Drum, and have invited Anthea to collaborate.

During apartheid, Township Cafés – often cobbled together from junk materials – were repeatedly used as underground meeting places for the democratic movement in South Africa. Today, they remain vibrant and vital venues, part of the very fabric of a modern, democratic nation.

The Birmingham cafés are places for conversation and meeting, featuring artworks and objects leant by members of the city’s African communities, as well as new artworks created by Friction Arts and visiting Johannesburg-born artist Anthea Moys.

Anthea, whose work explores connections between play, games, rule making and performance, has been working closely with Friction, responding to the stories and connections they have made in Birmingham. She will create public realm intervention artworks that will occur at within Afrovibes venues and out in communities during the festival.

Friction Co-Director Sandra Hall said “Birmingham may not have a large South African community, but people from many other African diasporas live across the city. We want the Township Cafés to represent the experience of Africans living in Birmingham today.

“The cafés are spaces that bear the many different stories of the people we’ve met, and tell those stories to visitors. We are also facilitating live links with people in South Africa at the larger mac birmingham cafe, allowing open conversations with our two countries.”

Of working with Anthea, Friction Co-DirectorLee Griffiths said: “Five years after we first worked together in Johannesburg, we’re very excited to be creating with Anthea in our home city of Birmingham. She’s a rising star of the international art scene and her work is always exciting and surprising.”

A Township Café for Birmingham is supported by Birmingham City Council Culture Commissioning service through their Culture on Your Doorstep scheme, UK Arts International and Arts Council England.

For more information see:


Monday 20 to Sunday 26 October 2014

Afrovibes Township Café
Friction Arts and South African artist Anthea Moys present a place for fringe Afrovibes festival performances and conversation, with Ethiopian coffee, new artworks and interventions, plus stories and objects from the city’s African communities.

mac birmingham
Cannon Hill Park
Birmingham B12 9QH
Tel: 0121 446 3232
Open: Daily 9am-10pm  |

Monday 20 to Sunday 26 October 2014
Afrovibes Township Café
The Drum, 144 Potters Lane, Aston, Birmingham B6 4UU
Tel: 0121 333 2400
Open: Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 10am-5pm, times vary during events.

Project Blog:
Find out more about the project as it progresses:

Read an interview with Anthea Moys as she prepares for the project:



Friction Arts is an artist-led company who make art that connects people. They work with all kinds of people to create artwork that authentically reflects their experiences and can be enjoyed in all kinds of awkward places, not just in galleries. They make artwork in the public realm – whether on the street, around an estate, in a bar, or in the foyer of the Mailbox shopping centre in Birmingham. They have worked with allotment gardeners, gang lords, young people with autism, internationally renowned composers and choreographers, and the people who live at the end of their road.


Anthea Moys is a South African artist who Friction are bringing to Birmingham for the Township Café project. Anthea is a public realm intervention artist – she creates performances and events that take place in public and which make people think twice about their everyday environment. For example, she competed in the prestigious Johannesburg bicycle rally – on an exercise bike, right in the middle of the course. She has travelled from town to town running a booth for people to challenge a South African arm-wrestling expert. People are always surprised when they go into the booth to find a short woman instead of a huge man getting ready to arm wrestle them. Anthea worked with Friction in 2009 in Johannesburg.

Moys has shown her work in South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, London, Australia, Miami, New York and Berlin. As the inaugural winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Performance Art for 2013 she is currently working on realising an exhibition to take place in 2014 reflecting on her performance series Anthea Moys vs The City of Grahamstown and Anthea Moys vs The City of Geneva.


Afrovibes is a European focus for the presentation of contemporary performing arts from South Africa. The festival scouts for and programmes topical African performing arts productions, promoting the exchange of knowledge and practice between European and African artists and theatre makers. Afrovibes presents not only dance, theatre and music, but also creates an atmosphere and context which complements the incoming South African productions.

Since the festival began in 1999, Afrovibes has developed into a multidisciplinary arts festival which takes place in both the UK and the Netherlands. It connects arts and culture from South Africa with European audiences, bringing talented emerging and established African artists and their work to European venues.

Although Afrovibes was founded in the Netherlands, the festival is now a valued addition to arts provision in the UK, having been always supported by Arts Council England.

The first UK edition of Afrovibes (London, Birmingham, Manchester) took place in 2010. The second, much larger festival was in 2012, and was presented in Cardiff, Nottingham, Liverpool, Lancaster and Hereford as well as the three original cities. In 2014, we will be adding Newcastle, Swansea, Bracknell, Edinburgh and Glasgow to the list.


For more information about the Afrovibes Township Cafe, Friction Arts and Anthea Moys, including interview requests, please contact us using the form below.

Note: For press enquiries regarding the full Afrovibes programme in Birmingham and nationally, please contact Judy Lipsey at Premier Communications: 0207 292 8366 /