Live Art supported by the Yoma Sasburg Estate - Shortlisted 2017
Jamila Johnson-Small started making choreography for her own body when she realised she was not seeing bodies like hers in clubs, at galleries or on screen. She makes solo work as Last Yearz Interesting Negro and collaborates as Project O (with Alexandrina Hemsley) and immigrants and animals (with Mira Kautto).
She sees dancing as “a radical social proposition” and her practice attempts to “embrace ideas of borderless-ness”. Her involvement in The Rebel Man Standard Festival (2016) reflected this in its performances and workshops that explored the political potential of choreographic practice.
Johnson-Small is interested in the idea of un-taming her body, something she sees as an act of subversion whilst living under “white supremacist imperialist capitalist patriarchy” telling her how and what to desire. For example, i ride in colour and soft focus and no longer anywhere (2016) manipulates her body and voice in a performance that is a meditation on “the pressure to ‘take space’ and the feeling of being possessed by other people’s fantasies”. Her recent Untitled (2016) film is similar, considering “the labour and seduction of the performing body” and what it is to make her body public.