nora chipaumire's groundbreaking approach to movement goes beyond the formalistic; the renowned artist refers to dance as an “animist technology”—a means of discovering the sentience of the physical body. Drawing from decades of experience as a choreographer, as well as her own biography witnessing the independence of Rhodesia—now Zimbabwe—chipaumire seeks to move beyond a diagnosis of the colonial body, instead demanding a “prognosis,” or a path forward. chipaumire’s practice calls for justice, freedom, and new forms of world-making.
Marking the artist’s first solo exhibition, this presentation is provoked by a global pandemic and “the desire to occupy white cubes, black boxes, grand operas, open vistas, clubs, digital freeways, and stadiums.” Titled in acknowledgment of today’s most pressing question—“What now?”—afternow resists the obsolescence of live events, allowing the remnants of “underperforming works” to agitate liveness once again.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is soundshitsystem, a monumental speaker system designed by Ari Marcopoulos and Kara Walker, and constructed by Matt Jackson Studio. Frequently used by chipaumire in live performances for the triptych #PUNK 100%POP *N!GGA, the system is installed in afternow to play NEHANDA, a new radio opera written and produced by chipaumire during her residency at Callie’s in the winter of 2020-2021.
Nehanda, the protagonist of the radio opera, is a spirit venerated by the Shona people native to Zimbabwe and Central Mozambique. Nehanda inhabits women; in the late 19th century, Nehanda’s medium was Charwe Nyakasikana, a revolutionary leader who orchestrated the 1889 revolts against Cecil John Rhodes and the British colonization of Zimbabwe. Upon capture, she was tried for murder, convicted, and executed. The opera examines the historic crimes committed by the British in the illegally occupied territory then named Southern Rhodesia.
nora chipaumire was born in 1965 in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
NEHANDA (2021) is composed of 8 episodes. The total running time is 3 hours 51 minutes. Audio treatment by Franz Schütte, with Nadel Eins Studio Berlin.