Year of Birth
Country of Birth
Luck, lies, 80% Black anger, wishful thinking, pride and gravity on canvas. Enter black aesthetics, enter imaginatively resourceful counterclaim to translatability, enter Donna Kukama’s black poetics.
In the six works that make-up Kukama’s latest body of work, one is enraptured by an alchemy of narrative, complexity and lyricism —poetry as method and history through verse. The paintings render themselves as a portal to a continuous and unconscious flow of thought and feeling —an interrupted recollection of wishes, provocations and reactions. They unearth a tight relationship where memory (past) and imagination (future) are tangled up through (in)discernible scrawls.
Kukama’s paintings present a visual dialogue animated through a rejection of absolute translatability where only the titles communicate the message —even then, the meaning is coded, opaque….impenetrable. We’re never fully let in; who’s fall? Whose fake traumas? And why is Kukama travelling to the moon? A fluency in obscurity becomes the tool through which full expression can be achieved without complete revelation. It functions as an embrace of the unavoidable slippage between knowing and unknowing.
Donna Kukama (b.1981, Mafikeng, SA) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is informed by performance-based research processes. Through performance, video, sound, texts, and non-monuments, her work questions the way in which histories are narrated, as well as how value systems are constructed, often resisting established “ways of doing”.
Kukama has exhibited and presented performances at several institutions and museums, including the Tate Modern in London; Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham; Padiglione de’Arte Contemporanea Milano in Milan; South African National Gallery in Cape Town; Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp; nGbK in Berlin; and the New Museum in New York. She has participated in the 57th Belgrade Biennale; the 10th Berlin Biennale; the 12th Lyon Biennale; the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art; the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo and the 55th Venice Biennale, as part of the South African pavilion. Kukama lives and works be ...