no serenity here

Artist: Mohau Modisakeng (ZA)

The proposed performance that takes the form of a loosely choreographed piece that addresses the legacy of colonialism on the black male body in particular. The experimental work investigates the interpersonal relationships across race, culture and spirituality between strangers.

The work reflects a conversation/exchange of struggle between two characters, one represented in the music and soundscape played by cellist and the choreography of a dancer (played by Aphiwe) who speaks with his body to communicate across space.
The dialogue between the two encompasses the tensions between notions of home and exile, foreign and native, self and other within the context of the historic and often violent migration between Africa and Europe.

The work represents a dichotomy of two different worlds engaged in a dialogue characterised by moments of misunderstanding, and discord, which are sometimes reconciled in moments of harmony between the sound of the cello and the actions of the dancer.


Mohau Modisakeng was born in Soweto in 1986 and lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town in 2009 and worked towards his Master’s degree at the same institution. His work engages race, the militarisation of society and the deep divides of post-apartheid South Africa and the post-colonial continent. He interrogates the collective narratives that inform our experience of the world, in particular those that evoke the black body as a site of fragmentation and distortion.

Modisakeng was awarded the Sasol New Signatures Award for 2011. He has exhibited at VOLTA NY, New York (2014); the Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar (2012); Focus 11, Basel (2011); and Stevenson, Cape Town (2010). In 2013 he produced an ambitious new video work in association with Samsung as a special project for the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair. His work is included in public collections such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town and the Saatchi Gallery, London as well as in significant private collections such as Zeitz MOCAA. Performa New York (2017)