Lemi Ponifasio, Featured Artist of the red bridge project
«I make art. And in order to disseminate it, I connect with very different social groups.» Isn’t Luxembourg, with its citizenship comprising almost 170 nationalities, the ideal location for Lemi Ponifasio’s activities? And could it be the place where the name of Ponifasio’s production unit – «Mau» in Samoan, meaning «determination» in English – unfolds its full potential? The choreographer from Samoa has been invited to the Festival d’Avignon and the Ruhrtriennale, among other festivals. The red bridge project, a joint initiative of by Mudam, the Grand Théâtre and the Philharmonie, invites this extraordinary personality for its third festival edition.
Since «as an artist from that part of the world» he considers it his task «to articulate clearly that there is another way of thinking about things» (Le Point), his work Sea Beneath the Skin will offer a striking start at the Philharmonie on June 14 – an alarm signal warning against maritime pollution and combining traditional chants from the Pacific region with Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.
Opening the festival, Jerusalem will be performed at the Grand Théâtre, a combination of Māori chants and texts by the Syrian poet Adonis. This is followed by Love to Death by the company Mau Mapuche, founded by Lemi Ponifasio in Chile in 2015 in response to his fear for the future of these indigenous communities in South America.
Mudam, in turn, becomes a venue of possibilities through the integrative project Te ATA, combining debates, performances, even dance battles.
«I always hope that the people who sit here silently are taking something home with them» (Le Point), says the man who is one of the intellectual and spiritual leaders of his home archipelago and works relentlessly to bring communities together. How could it be otherwise with such promising projects ahead? More will follow in the 2024/25 season?