Five months ago, poet and arts activist Lelethu Poeticsoul Mahambehlala opened up her home for Port Elizabeth performing artists to hold intimates sessions on Sunday afternoons.
The monthly gathering has grown so that it requires a larger space, hence the next session with spoken word artist Sihle Sofute will be held at the ArtEC gallery in Central.
Dubbed the Lovehouse Sessions, the gathering is one of Mahambehlala’s expressions of her activism in – and passion for – the arts, held on the last Sunday of every month.
The Lovehouse Sessions kicked off on February 24 when the poet invited guests and friends over for an intimate session at her house.
“My house has always been somewhat of a home for fellow artists.“It’s a space where they love to come and create in, and the name Lovehouse is derived from the fact that artists feel at home here,” Mahambehlala said.
She wanted to create a space which allowed artists to have conversations about their work and not just perform, she said.
Although initially intended as an intimate space with a small crowd, the event has attracted large numbers, resulting in the move to ArtEC in May.
“I’m surprised at the rate the event has grown.“My house could only accommodate a certain number of people and, with the crowd Mthokozisi Mabuza’s show pulled, we had to find somewhere bigger.”
At the poet’s house, guests were welcomed with a glass of wine and made their way inside where they sat on crates and cushions in a homely environment. Mahambehlala hopes to uphold the same atmosphere at ArtEC.
“We tried putting in chairs but realised it wasn’t giving us the feel we were going for, so we’re working on a sitting arrangement that’s more relaxed,” she said.
Even though the sessions are no longer at her house, Mahambehlala says the intimacy will not be lost and the number of guests will still be limited.
Previous sessions featuring Mhambehlala, followed by Zimsto ERoofini, LoveChild and Mthokozisi Mabuza, had all been poetry and music-focused, but the event was open to other forms of performing arts, Mahambehlala said.
“The people I invite to perform at Lovehouse Sessions are people I would normally go out to watch and enjoy myself,” she said.
While the sessions are usually held on the last Sunday of every month, Sofute’s session will be on June 23, due to the National Arts Festival where Mahambehlala will be performing her show, Sound Word, A Woman in Prayer, from July 1 to 4.
The sessions start at 2pm until 5.30pm. Entry is R60 inclusive of bottomless wine.
For more information, contact Mahambehlala on 071-550-0362.