Award Winner 2022
Neon Bush Girl Society, 2022
Latefa Wiersch, Rhoda Davids Abel and Dandara Modesto develop a new speculative narrative from poetry, song, sound, and performative objects, which draws on incomplete biographies of the artists and the cultural and colonial histories of different indigenous people from Africa and the African diaspora. One common motif are the gestures of returning and looking back, which stand for the longing for and mourning of lost homes. One such home is found in the legend of the Nama, a people indigienous to Southern Africa: the myth speaks of people who were forced to flee from enemy tribes and were turned into hybrid, half-tree, half-human beings by the gods who pitied them. The legend created the Afrikaans name “halfmens” (half-human) for a plant whose silhouette is reminiscent of a human shape. The hybrid puppets used in the performance, and which seem to meld with the bodies of the actors in shifting constellations, were developed from this idea. These figures refer to political dimensions of the female body of colour and ask questions about visibility, representation, and forms of empowerment.