Photo by Sara Griffith, EMPAC on the set of Chameleon (A Visual Album by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko)
How to Survive the End of the World is a four-part program series exploring the ways in which artists and art workers express social, cultural and political philosophies through their art practice. Radical Reimagining is a virtual screening and artist talk with performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. During this artist talk, Jaamil will speak to the concept of “Radical Reimagining” as it relates to his multimedia performance series Chameleon: A Biomythography including his zine Chameleon: A Syllabus of Survival.
Chameleon: A Biomythography is a multi-media live art work that explores the fugitive realities and shapeshifting demands of surviving at the intersection of Blackness, feminism, and queerness in contemporary America. In this new work from Nigerian American artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, a melanated stage saturated in africanist texts and iconography becomes a site of ecstatic spiritual fantasy in which an ever–present quotidian experience of grief is punctuated by moments of beauty, care, and pleasure. Inspired by an on-going fascination with erotic digitality and Black diasporic spiritual practice, Kosoko uses the apparatus of the theater to conjure an environment of sudden, unexpected, emotional complexity. “Biomythography” refers to Audre Lorde’s foundational work entitled Zami: A New Spelling of My Name published in 1982, which combines history, biography, and myth, and holds a literary perspective that serves as a guiding light for complex narrative storytelling rooted in a queer, Black self-defined, feminist imagination. RSVP required. Zoom details will be sent via confirmation email.
Other programs in this series:
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Nigerian American performance artist, poet, and curator originally from Detroit, MI. His creative practice draws from Black study and queer theories of the body, weaving together visual performance, lecture, ritual, and spiritual practice. Recent awards include: 2020 Pew Fellowship, 2020-21 Resident Artist at the Wexner Center for the Arts, 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography, 2019 NPN Development Fund Award, 2019-21 Movement Research Artist in Residence, 2018-20 Live Feed Artist at New York Live Arts, 2017-19 Princeton Arts Fellow, 2019 Red Bull Writing Fellow, 2017 MAP Fund recipient, and a 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow. His works have toured internationally to South Africa, Europe, Canada, and throughout the US appearing in festivals and venues such as The Centre for the Less Good Idea (Johannesburg), Fusebox Festival (Austin), PICA | Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Tanz im August (Berlin), Moving in November (Finland), Within Practice (Sweden), TakeMeSomewhere (UK), Brighton Festival (UK), Oslo Teaterfestival (Norway), and Zürich MOVES! (Switzerland) among others. He is the author of two chapbooks: Animal in Cyberspace and Notes on An Urban Killfloor. His poems and essays have been included in The American Poetry Review, The Dunes Review, The Broad Street Review, among others. Season 1 of his interview-based podcast, American Chameleon can be found on all podcast platforms. In Fall 2020, he will be the Alma Hawkins Visiting Chair in the World Arts and Cultures Department at UCLA (Los Angeles, CA). Visit jaamil.com or follow @chameleon_coalition on Instagram for more information.