Made possible by funding of TAIKE and Nordic Culture Fund, DANCO – School of Decolonizing the Art of Dance members Heidi Seppälä, Jalmari Nummiluikki and Emmanuel Ndefo have been working in Grand Popo, Benin, and Lagos, Nigeria, in order to create and run a workshop weekend Narratives of Masculinity, Power and Queerness in Afro-Nordic Space – Workshops and Performance.
“A workshop addressing queer theory and structures of power and masculinity through cross-cultural collaboration of Finnish, Beninine and Nigerian artists. The aim is to open embodied dialogue, develop a body based theory within Afro-Nordic context and to facilitate performance making. Through critical discourse we hope to create new knowledge and understanding of cultural empathy, widen our networks and build lasting cooperation between Nordic and African creative organisations.
How can Nigerian queer performance theories and Finnish masculinity discourse feed each others realisation? The plan is to learn from each other by comparing models that address gender and sexuality on both African and Nordic context. To do so, we will investigate the narrative of “gender and sexual colonialism” that deny the historical existence of queerness on the African continent, as highlighted in the installation TRACES OF ECSTACY of Emmanuel Ndefo (CCA Lagos 2/2022), and look at the deeply patriarchal monument-tradition of Europe in the light of installation project FIRST MONUMENT (Working Group Nummiluikki-Seppälä-Pyhälä-Valve, Helsinki 2023).
By bringing together Finnish, Beninise and Nigerian artists to work on similar yet different global challenges through performing arts, we hope to feed into Afro-Nordic spaces of solidarity and compassion and create more diversified research ground for developing performance art and text.”
DANCO – School of Decolonizing the Art of Dance will use the material to further investigate ways to liberate the praxis and thinking of European dance and performing arts from its colonial identity.