Mohau Modisakeng


Traveling Venues TBA


For Mohau Modisakeng, born in Johannesburg, raised in Soweto, and now based in Johannesburg and Cape Town, there is no distinction between the personal and the political in his diverse practice. His performances, installations, films, and photographs utilize and articulate memory as a means of traveling between the past and the present to delve into highly debated matters of history, the body, and place in a country grappling with a very recent past (and implied present) of apartheid, conflict over mineral wealth, rampantly growing capital inequality, and conflicted national identity-building. 

For ZION, Modisakeng choreographs a street procession of twenty dancers, each one carrying an array of personal possessions, various pieces of baggage, and furniture via an exodus choreography of walking, running, jumping, falling, leaning, and sitting—enacting the blistered legacy of segregation, violent displacement, colonialism, and apartheid coursing through South African history. Occupying himself with the consequences of his compatriots’ exploitation, this performance acknowledges both the grief and catharsis of a population subject to the machinations of violence, forced migration, and subjugation.

Image credit: Mohau Modisakeng, ZION 2017. Courtesy of Whatiftheworld, Ron Mandos and Performa


Curated by RoseLee Goldberg. Co-presented by Times Square Arts. Supported by the Ford Foundation, Times Square Arts, WHATIFTHEWORLD, the Performa Commissioning Fund and the Performa 17 South African Pavilion Committee.

More about this artist