A photograph of Iman Isaacs and Eva Bartels during a performance of IRMA in Cape Town, 2022.

O N C A Green Curtain Award 2023 Winner: IRMA

Brighton Fringe

We’re happy to announce that the winner of the ONCA Green Curtain Award 2023 is IRMA, a play by Eva Bartels and Iman Isaacs.

Every year in May, we find ourselves in awe at the tremendous talent, dedication, creative rigour and courage that Brighton Fringe artists bring to our city. This year we were captivated by IRMA, a multimedia play about the life and work of Irma Stern, addressing the complexity of image making.

IRMA was both daring and deeply informed by research around the life and work of prolific artist Irma Stern, who becomes a point of departure to reflect on themes such as extraction vs exchange, exoticism, political and non-political choices in art, cultural and ancestral knowledge, chasing the sense of belonging, a female future and the activistic power of art and theatre. The conversations emerge between Eva Bartels, an artist and theatremaker from the Netherlands, and Iman Isaacs – a South African director, actor and theatre maker with Cape Malay roots.

Iman and Eva get to the bottom of things, digging their way through history and reflecting from their perspectives as two female artists from different continents both sparked by the desire to change the narrative. On receiving the ONCA Green Curtain Award 2023, Iman Isaacs and Eva Bartels said:

We are very happy and proud of the work that we made and very grateful to receive this award.

It has been a beautiful journey a challenging one and one of friendship. Thank you for supporting our mission to create attention for female artists, their works and their complex life stories in a predominantly white male dominated art canon. Our mission is to tell a more complete story and to bring an ode to the complexity of representation.

Irma is the second piece in a series of ten plays about ten female artists titled Mothers of Art. We are very happy to be supported by Brighton and are looking forward to returning.

ONCA is delighted to be able to support this necessary and thought-provoking work. Congratulations! You can read more about the Mothers of Art series here and read ONCA Green Curtain co-ordinator Zoe Alexander’s review of the play here.