Qudus Onikeku

Mem­ory in move­ment

The Africa Report - - ART & LIFE -

Paris-based dancer Qudus Onikeku’s per­for­mance film tril­ogy Right Here, Right Now screens in a blacked-out room. Guests at the open­ing found the work in­tense or even over­whelm­ing, but ul­ti­mately tran­scen­dent. A few days later Onikeku per­formed to an en­chanted au­di­ence (pic­tured). The tril­ogy is pre­sented as an in­ves­ti­ga­tion through dance of the work­ings of body mem­ory and its con­nec­tion to na­tional con­scious­ness. Born in La­gos in 1984, Onikeku was ed­u­cated in Châlons-enCham­pagne, France, and cites the Yoruba cul­ture as his pri­mary in­flu­ence, with hip hop, capoeira, and con­tem­po­rary dance vo­cab­u­lar­ies also play­ing a part in his chore­og­ra­phy. One of Nige­ria’s most out­stand­ing dancers, he was se­lected as the win­ter 2013 Granada artist-in-res­i­dence at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Davis. Some of his dance projects in­clude: Do We Need Coca-cola to Dance? (2007), an ur­ban dance project in var­i­ous African cities; I Must Set Forth (2009) at the Bates Dance Fes­ti­val in Lewis­ton, Maine; My Ex­ile is in my Head (2010) at Cen­tqua­tre in Paris; and STILL/LIFE (2011) at the Fes­ti­val d’avi­gnon. Onikeku is also the founder of DANCEGATHERING La­gos, an in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­val in­au­gu­rated this year that was in­cor­po­rated into the La­gos@50 cel­e­bra­tions in March.

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