DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Ato Malinda


Mshoga Mpya : Performance, 2014, Courtesy de l’artiste, © Daniel Jack Lyons.

Ato Malinda addresses sexuality, colonization, race, and cultural heritage through performative practice. Her past works have ranged from performance in front of a group to audience participation in a gallery to public performances on the street. True to its title, Mshoga Mpya (The New Gay) is highly intimate on two levels. First, the performance can be experienced by only one person at a time. The single audience member comes face-to-face with the artist in an enclosed cubicle. Second, during the performance itself, Malinda becomes a vessel through which lived experiences of LGBT individuals are encountered by the one-person audience. The stories were collected by the artist in Nairobi. She accosts this silence by performing her gathered conversations while concurrently preserving the privacy of the individual life stories through the small performance space. Half of Malinda’s face is painted with the rainbow flag associated with the LGBT community. She wears gender neutral clothing and a small afro wig to convey androgyny. This suggests that the performance is not so much about gender as it is about the life stories of LGBT individuals being shared. According to Malinda, sexuality is not often spoken about in Africa.

Ato Malinda was born in 1981 and grew up in the Netherlands, Kenya and the USA. She studied Art History and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas in Austin, and is currently doing a Masters of Fine Art at Transart Institute, New York. She began her professional practice as a painter and now works in the mediums of performance, drawing, painting, installation and video, and also as a free-lance curator. She has exhibited at Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK) in Berlin, Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, Salon Urbain de Douala in Cameroon and the Karen Blixen Museum in Copenhagen. Her previous work focused on Africanisms based in a postcolonial context, for example A Black Man’s View, A White Man’s Taboo, an exhibition about racial hierarchies in Nairobi; she now focuses on the ontology of the female experience and African feminism, and the performativity of architecture; examining social segregates and performance theories.

View online : www.atomalinda.org