“With the receipt of the kültüř gemma! scholarship we intent to support Mzamo Nondlwana’s work on the performance “Songs of Whales” (AT). What convinced us was the self-reflexive approach and the complexity of considerations concerning topic, aesthetics, and space. The intended project connects decolonialisation strategies with utopian reflections in precise images. Nondlwana is very much involved in various body techniques, and through connection and working together, he initiates a process of solidarisation and empowerment. We are happy to be able to support the continuation of the work on “Songs of Whales”.”
Statement by jury 2018
Songs of whales takes place in an imaginative world where a Black queer body emulates an existing reality, a dream like state. Through communal and personal rituals and by using their body as vessel for emerging narratives. Mzamo Nondlwana playfully attempts the deconstruction of linear concepts of time, merging the past, the present and the future.
While the boundaries between personal memories and imagined realities blur, the audience is invited to witness this mystical journey of re-membering, while at the same time the viewer is asked to confront their own perceptions of black bodies – and to challenge processes of Othering, fetishisation and objectification.
Songs of whales centers around embodied self-determined Black subjectivity by focusing on elements of empowerment and self-expression, utopian notions and the power of imagination.
Mzamo Nondlwana a queer non-binary performing artist originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. Their work focuses on marginalized bodies and invisible knowledge. In 2006 they started their formal training as a dancer at Moving into dance Mophatong (South Africa). In 2009 they moved to Salzburg where they completed their dance education at SEAD in contemporary dance and choreography. They worked with various choreographers such as the late Nigel Charnock ́s (co founder of DV8) in Cann Cann in Szene Salzburg. Professionally they worked with Michikazu Matsume, Doris Uhlich, Magdalena Chowaniec, Anti Fascist Ballet School and Needcompany. They also presented their works: Ima read…shake it to the ground and bring back up, Alley of his majesty… Black Swan .́ We can have so much fun mum… Mum what you say?. IN THE CLOUDS WITH THE SEA OF SOUNDS. In 2016 they were awarded a Türbo residency for their current solo work MY GARDEN FLOURISHES with FLOWERS which premiered at Tanzquartier in May 2018. They are also one half of a dj collective Bisha Boo that centers queer, trans, indigenous, black and people of color.