Donna Kukama

2014 standard bank young artist for performance art donna kukama. pic timmy henny 28 2

° 1981

Born in ZA, lives in Johannesburg (ZA).

Donna Kukama (°1981) uses performance to make visible the movements, tensions and emotions of contemporary society. To diagnose and perhaps even heal society, we might say, if that weren’t such a stereotypical statement about South Africa. Kukama’s own country is her main arena, although she also works elsewhere in the African continent and in Europe. She performs in ‘real’ spaces – streets and squares and shopping malls – with ‘real’ people in them, but she introduces a significant specification: “Half of the time it’s real spaces and real people, and the other half it’s kind of imagined somewhere in the past or future.

Kukama’s art creates strong visual images that are open to socio-political interpretation. She is trying to combine the solidarity of the political activist with non-alignment of the artist. Her works become meaningful not only as commentary on people’s expectations of and frustrations with social reality, but also as a response to the framework she has chosen to work in: art history in its ‘universal’ western-dominated form. (AK)

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