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Saad MoosajeeEmerging Masters

Saad Moosajee: “You have to resonate with it”

October 13, 2021
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Saad, as a visual artist and director, what would you say makes an image emotional?

I think for me, it's where you see something that you connect with and understand. You have to feel something and resonate with it on a level where that’s familiar, maybe you’ve experienced in some way, even if it's beyond description, right? And then, I think where it becomes most interesting for me, is to shift it or manipulate it… Playing with or distorting this thing that we do understand, that does resonate with us, I think can create an emotional impact.

How do you go about that?

Well, the cover I created for Thom Yorke’s “Last I Heard” video, which I also directed, is a good image: it’s just group of kids skipping through fire — it’s very simple. But it also almost looks like they could be on Mars or something, and everything is incinerated around them. But their posture is very playful. So for me, that can be quite emotional because you don't really know… It does two things. You wonder about them, their backstory, who they are and why they are there, but then it's also just an image that hopefully strikes you, that you might like to sit with afterwards, which is probably the thing that I'm most like drawn to. We're just trying to create images that stick with people.

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Last week’s Interview
Liesl Tommy

Liesl Tommy: “Let your instincts take over”

October 6, 2021

Ms. Tommy, is self-expression a form of activism?

One hundred percent. I became a director because I felt like I didn't have enough agency in terms of telling stories that really felt relevant as an actor, because you have to wait on what comes to you. But as a director, you can initiate projects, and that's what I was looking for: things that felt like they were resonant to me, that they felt like they had meaning. The value of advocacy is something that really resonates for me.

You grew up in a family of activists, right?

Yeah, and I grew up in South Africa during apartheid, in a fascist state where people were very afraid all the time. It was a time of enormous political upheaval, where people were taking to the streets in protest. As a young person, that's really my earliest memories. And I think for me, always feeling like we were second class citizens because of our race… It made me want to feel free. I lived for such a long time with this feeling of oppression and suppression, I think I always wanted to feel free to be myself and to express myself. And there's something about the drama of theater, and the size of theater that I think that made me feel free.