Donna Kukama is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, sound, and video. Her work resists established ways of doing, often presenting institutions, book chapters, monuments, or historical archives that are as real as they are fictitious. Kukama’s work questions the way in which histories are narrated, as well as how value systems are constructed.
“My practice often applies methods that are deliberately undisciplined, and I use performance as a strategy that allows me to invent as well as apply methods that are outside the canon of what is predictable or expected. I apply performance as a medium of resistance against already established ‘ways of doing,’ moreover as a strategy for inserting a foreign ‘other’ voice and presence into various territories, both physical and historical. My work usually weaves major with minor aspects of histories, and introduces a fragile and brief moment of “strangeness” within sociopolitical settings. These actions are intended as gestures of poetry with political intent and hopefully destabilize existing approaches regarding the ways we look at reality.”
Kukama has presented performances at the South African National Gallery, Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp, New Museum, and participated in the 12th Lyon Biennale, 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, 32nd Sao Paulo Biennale, the launch of the 10th Berlin Biennale public programme, Frieze London 2017, and as part of the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. She is the 2014 recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Performance Art and was nominated for the MTN New Contemporaries Award (2010) and the Visible Award (as NON NON Collective) in 2011. Kukama completed her Masters of Art in the Public Sphere in 2007 at Ecole Cantonale d’Arts du Valais in Switzerland, and is currently a faculty member at the WITS School of Arts in Johannesburg.