The World Cup in Russia is hardly over and we are already looking ahead to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
In 2022, Qatar will be hosting one of the biggest spectacles in the world: the FIFA World Cup. The fact that the organization of this football circus is in the hands of Qatar is making many a tongue wag. Together with the enormous stadiums in sandy settings, there are stories about mass exploitation of underpaid labourers, generally with migrant backgrounds.
Performance artist and footballer Ahilan Ratnamohan travelled to Qatar, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where he stood eye to eye with the realities required to build this World Cup dream. With the help of interviews with the workers, he looks behind the scenes of the picture that the Western media is holding up to us. He looked directly into the lives of those who have been doing the hard fieldwork. He discovered that – like in the beautiful game of football itself – reality often deceives us.
Mercenary is a collaboration between Sri Lankan-Australian artist Ahilan Ratnamohan and Mutamassik, an Egyptian-Italian-American musician. Ratnamohan once came to Europe to expand his career as a professional footballer (a career that never took off). He set out on another path and now operates from Antwerp as a theatre maker and the founder of the Star Boys Collective. In Mercenary, we see Ratnamohan’s characteristic football dance vocabulary, on this occasion complemented with Mutamassik’s punk jaw and pan-African electronica.
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choreography: Ahilan Ratnamohan | Music & composition: Giulia Loli aka Mutamassik, by & with: Ahilan Ratnamohan, Nipat Thollebeek, Aasis Gurung, Rabina Khatun, Imanuel Dado, dramaturgy Sodja Lotker, light & set design: Timme Afschrift, costumes: Anne-Catherine Kunz, research advice: Roslyn Oades, technical managment: Kultuurfaktorij Monty, production: Ahilan Ratnamohan, Jon Davis, Jonathan Offereins, commissioned by LIFT & presented by LIFT & Battersea Arts Centre, coproduction: Kultuurfaktorij Monty, A Cultured Left Foot vzw, with the support of Fare Network, Australian government, City of Antwerp, A Creative Europe Programme (European Union), Fameus & the West-Australian Governement
BE première on 27 September at Kultuurfaktorij Monty