Celebrating Cape Town’s female artists
The Venus Project came about through absolute inspiration. There are so many amazing female performers, writers, singers, instrumentalists, painters and artists in Cape Town. They are working and creating every single day and they make our city beautiful, complicated and vibrant. However, the truth is that you often won’t find them headlining major festivals or on the front page of the newspaper.
Being a female artist has always felt like a bit of a challenge for me. At times it feels like I am in a male dominated industry and as if everyone (including myself!) has ideas of what I should be, do and aspire to. In such a do or die climate it is easy to view your fellow musician as competition rather than inspiration.
Last year I was part of the most beautiful project called “Her”. It was pioneered by Ann Jangle and Daena Weeks and showcased female musicians such as Mel Mwevi and Lucy Kruger. It was a full lineup of female performers. The event was like no other that I had ever been part of and all I knew was that it was the sort of safe, accepting, loving and grounded atmosphere that every female musician wants to inhabit. I didn’t find myself worrying that I had worn the wrong outfit or that I might be showing too much/too little skin. I felt as if I was with family and as if my music was the only important thing.
Inspired to recreate this space I began to dream about an all female local lineup and reached out to some acts that I have always admired and wanted to perform with. I contacted Ruby June and Orah & the Kites and then met Folklore and shared the idea. We began to get excited about the possibilities and set about arranging The Venus Project Part i. From the start we wanted it to be linked to collecting sanitary pads and raising money for reusable sanitary pads and everything came together when we joined forces with the Lalela Project.
The Venus Project Part i was about an all female band lineup and creating an environment where we could test our idea, Part ii was intended to expand on it. Instead of four female powered projects that each had their own time on the stage, what if we opened up the stage to collaboration between all of the female artists in Cape Town?
There are musicians who I have grown alongside, talented songwriters and performers like Alanna Joy and Celine. There a mentors like Sarah Mcarthur and Tricia Brink-Jones and there are new friends like Anke, Mae Sithole and Kirsty. The Venus Project Part ii was a place where anything could happen and the amazing beautiful women who joined the lineup continue to make me very excited about music in Cape Town.
The venues have truly jumped on board. The Raptor Room donated the same amount of pads that we collected at Part i and Cafe Roux donated a free glass of wine to each person who brought a pack of sanitary pads.
The Venus Project Part iii created one of the most special atmospheres to be part of…hosted by The Drawing Room in Observatory this was one of the more intimate and house like concerts.
The Venus Project has always felt like a necessity rather than a special coming together of artists for a cause. However, it was only on Women’s Day that I truly understood the true reason behind the work we have been doing. Myself, Zen and Kirsty traveled to Hout Bay to the Silikamva High School to assist Lalela in throwing a Women’s Day breakfast for the amazing young women who we have been collecting sanitary pads for.
I found myself blown away by their spirit, talent and beautiful determination. I also struggled to deal with the reality that many of the amazing young women who I was sharing that day with would miss a whole year of high school due to a lack of sanitary products. It was a very happy and emotional day and I left feeling inspired that I had met the women of Lalela. I also left excited about creating a new Venus Project- one that includes the people who it is for.
It is with great excitement that we announce the fourth addition of The Venus Project- the First Thursday Edition. Our hope for this event is to echo a new beginning of partnership between the women of Lalela and the Venus Project. To create music and art with the young women rather than for them because we both have so much to learn from each other.
The First Thursday Edition will take place at The Jagger Lounge in Short Market Street. Originally Cafe Roux, we are privileged to be one of the first acts to perform in this new and exciting creative space. Expect art, music, collaboration and expression. And don’t forget to bring all the sanitary pads you can carry!