"In Aryan Kaganof's film The Exhibition of Vandalizim, legendary jazz icon Zim Ngqawana finds his base, the Zimology Institute, in an indescribable state. It has been ransacked and left for dead by scrap metal thieves. Ngqawana and his prodigy, Kyle Shepherd, make no attempt to salvage the remains, but instead confront the destruction head-on. Shepherd plays a piano that has been raped and violated, and somehow he is able to rescue it from the limbo of a musical instrument too damaged to serve the purpose for which it was created. What is more fascinating is how they refuse to be mere victims or bystanders. Within the trashed walls of the institute, the destruciton feeds their imagination and the jazz they produce in response is timeless avant-garde sounds. Their faces showing that they are on the verge of madness, they throw themselves over the edge of the precipice."
Tsepang Tutu Molefe, Business Day, 15 Sep 2017
read the full review here: pressreader.com/south-africa/business-day/20170915/281822873966436
“Vandalism as a crime has been allowed to exist by the system so that the attention may be diverted away from the real vandalism of the soul,” states Zim Ngqawana quietly in a moving documentary recorded in the badly damaged Zimology Institute following a break in.
Moving shaman-like around the dancing flames of a ceremonial bonfire, Zim Ngqawana wards off the flames with the power of his horn. This introduction to Vandalizm is a powerful analogy for how the teacher has channelled his rage at the actions of those who broke in to his beloved Institute. What follows is a healing ceremony of improvisation. A grand piano lies on its side, its keys played furiously by Shepherd while in another room Zim picks up a broken water pump and blows – creating a deep resonating tone. Into another part of the house and a toilet cistern is transferred into a horn. The images are both sombre and inspiring. It’s a while before the master speaks. “Improvisation is a willingness to move into the unknown,” he whispers thoughtfully. As the film progresses we hear more from the man who put so much into this community resource, addressing the post-apartheid issues that resulted in such actions, and in particular the chains of poverty that continue to hold the people back.
“Entertainment has its place, but our music is more about inner-attainment.”
Back in the Spring, I was fortunate to catch a screening of ‘Vandalizm’ at Cape Town’s City Hall prior to an intense duo performance by Zim and Kyle, promoted by the excellent black arts magazine Chimurenga based a short walk away in Long Street. As with mighty pairings like John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, the saxophonist and pianist exhibit an intuitive flow where individuality and duality are given equal space." Andy Thomas
more info is here: kaganof.com/kagablog/category/films/2010-exhibition-of-vandalizim/page/3/