Tag Archives: Okwui Okpokwasili


Performers really write with their bodies. If you give them a piece of writing, it becomes a completely different thing once it’s spoken and acted by a performer. The strange alchemy that they’re able to do has everything to do with energy and the force of their imagination…

What I love about actors, really, is that they only have their history and their observation of the world to call on. It’s actually sort of like learning how to play poker really well: you have to make that decision so quickly… They’re in touch with the cosmic reality of life and also the memory of life. In the way that writers excavate, actors embody.Hilton Als, PARIS LA 16

LAXART and the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens present LIVES OF THE PERFORMERS, a work-in-progress by Hilton Als.

The piece is directed by Peter Born and will be performed by Helga Davis and Victoire Charles—the Los Angeles stand-in for Okwui Okpokwasili, who was in a previous iteration.


Sunday and Monday, November 17 and 18, at 7:30 pm.


7000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Hilton Als, Lives of the Performers, from top: Helga Davis in performance at Triple Canopy; Davis; Victoire Charles; Hilton Als at the Soho Playhouse, New York City, January 19, 2018, photograph by Ali Smith; Davis and Okwui Okpokwasili at Triple Canopy. Images courtesy and © the author, the performers, and the photographers.


Okwui Okpokwasili, Françoise Vergès, Lorraine O’Grady, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, and Dionne Brand are among the many artists, authors, and educators who will be at the Guggenheim this weekend for the LOOPHOLE OF RETREAT conference.

This “daylong gathering dedicated to the intellectual life of black women” was organized by Simone Leigh, Tina Campt, and Saidiya Hartman, author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments.


Saturday, April 27, from 1 pm.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street), New York City.

The name of the conference—and Leigh’s concurrent show at the museum—refers to a chapter title in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, who referred to the opening line of the poem “The Task” (1784) by William Cowper.

From top: Okwui Okpokwasili (left), Poor People’s TV Room, 2017, courtesy of the artist; Lorraine O’Grady, Art Is. . . (Girl Pointing), 1983/2009, chromogenic color print, courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York, © 2015 Lorraine O’Grady, Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York); Simone Leigh with a wax mold of a braid for the High Line Plinth piece Brick House, at Stratton Sculpture Studios in Philadelphia, photograph by Constance Mensh. Brick House will be on view in Manhattan from June 2019.


“For Ralph Lemon, evasion and erasure are counterintuitive; they mark history’s traces and court the past’s return. History—with its discrete epochs, nameable masses, and willful actors—is neither salve nor refuge for those who lie beyond its rules.” — Thomas J. Lax, “For Starters”

Artforum editor-in-chief David Velasco will present the choreographer, dancer, writer, and visual artist Ralph Lemon in the last of this year’s graduate art seminars at ArtCenter.


Tuesday, December 11, at 8 pm.

LA Times Media Center, ArtCenter College of Design

Hillside Campus, 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena.

See ArtCenter Talks: Graduate Seminar, The First Decade 1986–1995, Stan Douglas, ed. (New York: David Zwirner Books/Pasadena, CA: ArtCenter Graduate Press, 2016).

Ralph Lemon and Okwui Okpokwasili perform Untitled (2008) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Image credit: MOMA.



In a Los Angeles premiere, the great Okwui Okpokwasili brings her POOR PEOPLE’S TV ROOM to Redcat for a long weekend of performances.

Mixing music and video with “ritualistic and hallucinogenic movement,” Okpokwasili and collaborator Peter Born create a dystopian dreamscape, investigating the erasure of Nigerian women’s resistance movements by means of collective amnesia and apathy.

POOR PEOPLE’S TV ROOM is performed by actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, director Thuli Dumakude; performance artist and writer Katrina Reid; dancer, choreographer, educator, and activist Nehemoyia Young; and Okpokwasili.

This program is part of the Sharon Disney Lund Dance Series in association with CAP UCLA.


OKWUI OKPOKWASILI—POOR PEOPLE’S TV ROOM, Thursday through Saturday, February 8 through 10, at 8:30 pm.  Sunday, February 11, at 7 pm.

REDCAT, Disney Hall, Music Center, downtown Los Angeles.


Above: Okwui Okpokwasili.

Below: Katrina Reid (left) and Okwui Okpokwasili in Poor People’s TV Room. Photograph by Paul B. Goode. Image credit: New York Live Arts.