Jamila Johnson-Small (Visual Arts, 2019)'i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere'Still from video 2017. Sound by Nkisi.

Jamila Johnson-Small

Fellow in 2019 for Visual Arts

Having this money I have felt an enormous privilege, I knew I wouldn’t have to panic about my rent, I was able cover the cost of London studio rent even though my collaborator with whom I previously shared this with was injured and unable to use the space, it’s helped me to cover the costs of two storage units where I keep sculptures for performances.

Read Jamila Johnson-Small's testimonial

Jamila Johnson-Small’s formal training is in dance and, since graduating in 2009, she has been finding ways to ‘upset’ this training as a statement about expectations of the performing body and its audience. With this approach, she presents work that acknowledges and mobilises the body as a site of politics, trying to destabilise and unsettle illusions of knowledge, achievement or development by incorporating work with forms in which she is an amateur.

Her work navigates states of overwhelm and alienation, utilising density and simultaneity to create environments, i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere (Fierce Festival, 2017) was the beginning of this practice of working with and through intensities: ‘a meditation on…the responsibilities of blackness and queerness, the pressure to ‘take space’, the feeling of being possessed by other people’s fantasies’.

Johnson-Small is interested in using the concept of a choreographic space to facilitate ‘immersive spaces of potential’ for both performer and spectator, considering it to be a certain kind of social space, for exchange and not-necessarily-verbal communication.