jaamil olawale kosoko: Syllabus for Black Love/ the hold

Public Reception: October 6th, 5-8pm
Performance: Saturday, Sept. 10 – 6pm (must have ticket for attendance)

The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at PNCA is pleased to announce the hold, an installation by jaamil olawale kosoko exhibited in partnership with the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of their twentieth annual Time-Based Art Festival, happening September 8–18, 2022.

Exhibition Statement:
jaamil olawale kosoko’s meditative multi-channel film and installation Syllabus for Black Love serves as the ship inside which the multimedia performance the hold is positioned. Through rhythmic and restorative gestures, the hold creates a perceptive and somatic experience for both performer and audience. Merging fabric, lighting, time, and sound art as sculptural material within Syllabus for Black Love, the hold is an embrace, a place, a time between time. This performance — featuring an alternating ensemble of performers/doulas—is a slippery, emerging, chameleonic practice rupturing the borders of reality, theatricality, and the digital realm. Jumping through and bending the time-space continuum, the hold behaves as both arrival and exit—a birth passage into the nuance of Black lives attempting the critical and alchemical work of self-examination, discovery, and becoming.

Artist Bio:
jaamil olawale kosoko is a multi-spirited Nigerian American author, performance artist, and curator of Yoruba and Natchez descent originally from Detroit, MI. jaamil’s practice is conceptual and process based, fluidly moving within the creative realms of live art performance, video, sculpture, and poetry. Through rooted ritual and spiritual practice, embodied poetics, Black critical studies, and queer theories of the body, kosoko conjures and crafts perpetual modes of freedom, healing, and care when/where/however possible.

jaamil is the recipient of awards including the 2022 Slamdance Jury Prize for Best Experimental Short film, 2021/22 MacDowell Fellowship, 2020 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, 2020 NCCAkron Creative Administrative Fellowship, 2019 NPN Creation & Development Fund award, 2019 Red Bull Arts Fellowship, 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography, 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellowship, 2018 NEFA National Dance Project Award, 2018-20 New York Live Arts Live Feed Residency, 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellowship, and consecutive 2016-2020 USArtists International Awards from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Blending poetry and memoir, conversation and performance theory, their book Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts, was released Spring 2022. Black Body Amnesia: LIVE, the performance reading, is a live theatrical event that examines the shapeshifting, illegible, and fugitive realities of Black diasporan people negotiating the psychic lifeworlds of living inside the American context. It is performed with an alternating ensemble of performers including jaamil olawale kosoko, Raymond Pinto, mayfield brooks, DJ Maij, and features original sound compositions by Everett-Asis Saunders. In this new work, kosoko uses complexity theory—which they define as the study of adaptive survivalist strategies inside complex networks or environments—as a performance device. From this artistic vantage point, the artist explores how minoritarianized communities record and affirm their existence through collaborative actions and protests, and how they then archive these personal freedom narratives to subvert culturally charged fields of systemic oppression, loss, and erasure.

About PICA and TBA:22
TBA:22 illuminates what is new and extraordinary. It wrestles with the unanswered and unanswerable. It pushed against this edge of what it means to make—and who can participate in—contemporary art. In addition to performances, exhibitions, dance parties, our new NIGHT SCHOOL program, and our Fall 2022 Creative Exchange Lab, come hang out, sip, ponder, and re/connect between and after programs at our on-site Festival bar. TBA:22 will feature international, national, and regional artists, World and West Coast Premieres, local partners, and accessible sites and spaces across the city. This September, we invite you to come together—in the twenty-year spirit of TBA—to experience a festival like no other.

For a deeper dive into each program, please visit pica.org/tba.

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art acknowledges and advances new
Developments in contemporary art, fostering the explorations of artists and audiences. Since 1995, PICA has championed the practice of contemporary artists from around the world, driving vital conversations about the art and issues of today. PICA presents artists from visual and performance backgrounds and embraces those individuals who exist at the borders of genres and ideas. Through artist residencies and exhibitions, lectures and workshops, and the annual Time-Based Art Festival, PICA constructs a broad platform for contemporary art. More information can be found at pica.org.

About CCAC and PNCA:
The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture is a platform for cultural production including exhibition, lecture, performance, and publication. Housed within Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), the Center throws open its doors to the greater public to foster conversation and community.
Pacific Northwest College of Art is the leading professional arts and design school in the Northwest; we are the heartbeat of learning and experimentation in Portland’s vibrant cultural ecosystem. We spark curiosity and sharpen skills so students can build creative careers anchored in innovation, justice and civic imagination.

Contact: Hannah Bakken, Interim Director CCAC, hbakken@willamette.edu