Rapper, producer, director and visual artist M.I.A. will curate the 24th Meltdown festival from 9 – 18 June 2017.
Launched 25 years ago, the festival is famed for bringing to life the world of its curator, counting Patti Smith, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, David Byrne, Ray Davies, Morrissey and Ornette Coleman amongst those that have held the position.
Having been nominated for an Academy Award, two Grammy Awards and a Mercury Prize, M.I.A.’s accolade-studded musical career spans 13 years, five albums, and has defied stylistic genres, with influences ranging from nu rave and dancehall to hip-hop from around the world. M.I.A.’s vast list of collaborators includes Diplo, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Jay Z and Lil Wayne.
M.I.A., real name Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam, was named in 2009 as a defining artist of the decade by Rolling Stone and an influential person by both Time and Esquire, her artistic projects aim to challenge convention. Her Top 20 track Paper Planes, questions immigrant stereotypes and was featured on the soundtrack of Danny Boyle’s hit film Slumdog Millionaire, and her later music videos for Bad Girls and Born Free, directed by Romain Gavras, were critically acclaimed and politically polarising.
As well as a musician, M.I.A. is a director, visual artist, activist, photographer, fashion designer and model. She spearheaded a clothes recycling project with high-street brand H&M and her first public exhibition of art was nominated for an Alternative Turner Prize. The single, Borders, from her latest album AIM tackles the European refugee crisis, particularly in the track’s video that she herself directed. M.I.A. has earned a reputation for innovation – leading to a Meltdown this year with more than a few surprises.
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director at Southbank Centre, said: ‘It’s not often that we encounter such an unbridled creative force, excelling in whichever field they try their hand. M.I.A. has not just broken barriers as a musician, creating music that is embraced the world over, but she has made art her rallying cry – and has stayed true to her conviction, as an artist, woman and citizen of the world.’
Bengi Unsal, Senior Contemporary Music Programmer at Southbank Centre, said: ‘In a progressively polarised world, we are now appreciating those that don't fear standing out and those that defy moulds. M.I.A. is fearless in the way she pushes boundaries and makes music that is so refreshingly original that it effectively doesn't age. Her ever-evolving, yet readily identifiable musical style inspires people to dance, whilst giving a voice to the voiceless, from refugee camps in Africa through to London's streets. M.I.A. is a trend setter and social critic, but most importantly, an internationally loved and acclaimed musical star.’
The full line-up for Meltdown is to be announced in the coming months.