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Cure :: Donna Kukama

I use performance as a strategy that allows me to invent as well as to apply methods that are outside of what is predictable or expected, and as a medium of resistance against already established 'ways of doing'. The resulting work often takes on experimental forms that deliberately apply 'undisciplined' methods as a strategy for inserting my voice and presence as a 'historical record' weave of unrecorded histories with fictional narratives and personal stories.

Kukama presents 'living monuments' within larger sociopolitical settings. These often fragile and ephemeral moments of encounter are to be understood as gestures of poetry with political intent, and with the weight to destabilize existing canons regarding the ways we historicize/memorialize/remember.

When Peace was murdered about a year ago, I struggled to look into the mirror for months, because I resemble him. A lot. I am his mirror image. Sello (in the singular and plural, and not easily translatable to English, means"cries", but it can also mean deep desires, or point towards intent, and a simple request, depending on your Mooood) - was his birth name. My father, an artist, architect, musician, poet, designer, and all-round creative-of-sorts, also composed gospel songs while in New York, which would be sung in SouthAfrica. He was probably multiples of other things that remained at a distance, because of  'time'. Those who knew him closely called him 'Peace'.

The rendition of the song titled 'Peace', as sung by the UJ Choir, gave birth to this online ‘virtual memorial piece’, dedicated to those who have transcended to parallel realms. The song functioned as a tool for meditative reflections (both figuratively as well as metaphorically) on physically manifesting 'inner peace' during times of distress. It is a prayer in which peace manifests through acknowledging our own mortality, and the potential for magic and spiritual transcendence in working through imperfections, without any expectation of 'perfection' from an external God.

About Donna Kukama

Donna Kukama has exhibited and presented performances at several notable institutions and museums, including the Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham, Kunsthal KaDe in Amersfoort, Padiglione de'Arte Contemporanea Milano in Milan, South African National Gallery in Cape Town, Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp, Tate Modern in London, nGbK in Berlin, and the New Museum in New York. She has participated in the 57th Belgrade Biennale; 12th Lyon Biennale; the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art; 32nd Bienal de São Paulo; 8th Berlin Biennale (as CHR); the 10th Berlin Biennale's public program, and the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Kukama was the 2014 recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Performance Art and received a nomination for the MTN New Contemporaries Award (2010) and the Visible Award (as NON-NON Collective) in 2011. She was a guest professor at HBK Braunschweig in Germany (2019-2020) and has been a lecturer at the Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg from since 2011.