danceGATHERING 2019 | 11 - 24 Feb. 2019
Artistic director: Qudus Onikeku
Executive Producer: Hajarat Alli
Co-curators: Onye Ozuzu & Qudus Onikeku
Producer: QDance Center. Lagos (Founded in 2014)
Location: Lagos, Nigeria.
Dates (2019): February 11-24.
Team: Five permanent staffs (1 artistic directors, 1 executive producer, 2 gathering coordinators, 1 communications manager) Five Seasonal members: (2 curators, 2 technical directors - sound and light, 1 driver); 20 volunteers.
Venues (2019): Glover Memorial Hall (Indoor) and Broad Street (Final weekend - Open air).
Cities represented (2019): Lagos, Abuja, Benin city, Kaduna, Jos, Ibadan, Cotonou, Kampala, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa, Accra, Paris, Normandy,Amsterdam, London, Seville, Berlin, Poznan, Florida, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Montevideo, Sao Paolo, Roseau and Santiago.
Professionals and Guests from: Brussels, Johannesburg, Maine, Amsterdam, Munich, Cologne, Montevideo, Los Angeles and London.
Audience figures (2018): 5,210 (2019) 7,433 + an active global following via social media pages.
Funding (2019): Mostly funded by participant's personal funds + support from Creative Culture Support Foundation Lagos, Institut Francais - Paris, Rolex Institute - Geneva, African Diaspora Contemporary Art Initiative – Columbia College Chicago and University of Florida. Venue support: Lagos State Government.
Key contact: Hajarat Alli, Executive producer,
AFRO SPACE TIME
DanceGATHERING 2019 gathered artists, thinkers, dreamers, healers and other inclassable mutants, invited to radically shift the boundaries of knowledge in their various fields and localities. We invited humans for who they are, not the things they make. We met in Lagos to experiment, collaborate, and learn from one another knowing that our efforts strengthen ties across borderlines, across gender, race, place, and space to go straight to the core of our being. Through spontaneous performance labs and workshops born through bodies happy to be together to care for, touch, groove with one another, we created a horizontal, co-learning space that unraveled the limitation of sanctioned disciplines. DanceGATHERING strives to be anti-disciplinary and encourages us all to revel in the unknown, so that we can collectively experience the bliss of total surrender to the creative process.
The 2019 theme AFRO SPACE TIME asks us to consider the premise that reincarnation is our existential foundation; the focal point around which we gather and make art. The momentum of our gathering is a non-linear, cyclical relation to Time, and a psychic, intangible relation to Space. As Africans who are scattered all over the world, we affirm the reality of a shared networked and global presence on this planet. It is a reality that we indicate through the declaration of these premises as fact. AFRO SPACE TIME bears witness to all that was done to us in the past; all the lynching, the killings, the colonization, the violent enslavement, the theft of human lives and things they created, the brutality, the oppression, the attempted dehumanization and erasure, the laboring that we suffer. We have born it. We bear it.
Within the framework of AFRO SPACE TIME, danceGATHERING 2019 offered an opportunity for us to express and interweave those fleeting emotions, imageries and imaginations borne of consciousness, make of them stock from which to enrich our lives’ choices, with extraordinary capacity to be able to identify the fulfillment of our purpose. Even after haven had time to reflect on our experience of DanceGATHERING 2019, we still struggle to articulate our experience with AFRO SPACE TIME in Lagos. In the process of gathering thoughts for the eventual publication of the catalog, we continue to inquire:
When we “dance”, where exactly are we dancing? When we become transcendent in the process, who do we become? Where are we? and who returns? When are we, within the cycle of Time? Where? Knowing fully well that the world of the spirits, the world of the living and that of the ancestors all revolves around the same Time; there is no past nor future in that, we are all present. Where do we think they went? Who do we think they are? How many life cycles do we refer to? What is the object of such ‘come back’? To accomplish what? How can we then not dance? To what effect do we dance? What is the value of such performance by bodies steeped in such awareness? It cannot be evaluated in simple language. And is difficult to articulate with the rudimentary tools of our current situations. Nonetheless we take time to do for ourselves, to pose our questions; because if we don’t capture them, they may go unanswered.
Topics / questions which emanate from our gathering includes but not limited to:
Collaboration in the Cipher — thoughts on global street art/dance practices.
Making Space/Maker’s Space — how do we ‘make’ the spaces and times to imagine and execute ideas within a given time?
Gender and space — How do we consider gender across physical and mental borders?
Emerging Selves – Who do you/did you become in a collaborative process? Did you work within your primary discipline or did another “skill” emerge from within you?
Trans-Diasporic Collaborations — What emerges from co-creating with other collaborators throughout the African Diaspora?
Returning Home — What is home? How did DG2019 influence your notion of “return?” Who are you in your home? What or who did you take with you?
Process/Product — Who/what determines which is more valuable, what value is to be placed on processes over final product?
Public Performance — How does the audience, and spaces transform the work?
Antidisciplinarity — What is the process of becoming antidisciplinary?