Josèfa Ntjam, Holy Water : Discussion with Mami Wata

Saturday 08 Apr 2023 from 7:30pm to 8:30pm

10 €

© Chloé Magdelaine

Holy Water: Discussion with Mami Wata is a performative journey combining music, film and poetry, conceived by artist Josèfa Ntjam in honour of the water deity, Mami Wata and the mythologies that surround her.

The performance is followed by a DJ set by the artist SOÑXSEED, who draws from their collection of house, jazz, disco, R&B and revivalist music from Cameroon.

Video/image creation: Sean Hart
Text and sound: Josèfa Ntjam
Styling: Steven Jacques
Performance curation at Lafayette Anticipations: Madeleine Planeix-Crocker
Project coordinator: Oksana Delaroff
© Chloé Magdelaine
© Chloé Magdelaine
© Chloé Magdelaine
Josèfa Ntjam is an artist, performer and writer whose practice combines sculpture, photomontage, film and sound.

Gleaning the raw material of her work from the internet, books on natural sciences and photographic archives, Ntjam uses the method of assemblage – of images, words, sounds, and stories – to deconstruct hegemonic discourses on notions of origin, identity and race. Her work weaves multiple narratives drawn from investigations into historical events, scientific functions and philosophical concepts, to which she confronts references to African mythology, ancestral rituals, religious symbolism and science-fiction.

These apparently heterogeneous discourses and iconographies are marshalled together in an effort to re-appropriate History while speculating on not-yet-determined space-time(s) – interstitial worlds where systems of perception and naming of fixed (id)entities no longer operate. From there, Ntjam composes utopian cartographies and ontological fictions in which technological fantasy, intergalactic voyages and hypothetical underwater civilizations become the matrix for a practice of emancipation that promotes the emergence of inclusive, processual and resilient communities.

Ntjam’s solo and duo exhibitions include Underground Resistance – Living Memories, The Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK (2022); and we’ll kill them with love..., CAC La Traverse, Alfortville, FR (2022); Molecular Genealogies, NıCOLETTı, London, UK (2021) and Allegoria, duo show with Kaeto Sweeney, Hordaland Art Center, Bergen, NO (2019). Ntjam’s work and performances have been shown in international museums and institutions, including Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Musée d’art moderne et contemporain MAMC+, Saint- Etienne, FR; WIELS, Brussels, BE; MUCEM, Marseille, FR; Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, PT; Africamuseum, Tervuren, BE; Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, US; Radius CCA, Delft, NL; Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine MECA, Bordeaux, FR; MuCAT – Musée des Cultures Contemporaines Adama Toungara, Abidjan, IC; Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario, CA (2021); MAMA, Rotterdam, NE (2020); 15th Biennale de Lyon, MAC Lyon, Lyon, FR (2019); and Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2019).

Her upcoming projects include a site-specific commission at Centre Pompidou, Metz, as part of the group exhibition Les Portes du possible. Art & science-fiction (2022); a solo exhibition at FACT, Liverpool (2022–23), and a solo exhibition at NıCOLETTı, London, UK (2023).

Ntjam is a member of Paris-based art & research collective Black(s) to the Future:

Ntjam’s work is part of a number of private and public collections, including Fonds d’art contemporain – Paris Collections, FR; FRAC MECA Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Bordeaux, FR; FRAC Auvergne; FRAC Alsace, Sélestat, FR; Fondation Villa Datris, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, FR; EIB Institute, Luxembourg; and Artothèque de Strasbourg, FR.

Published in the anthology Sex Ecologies (2021, MIT Press) and in the journal Afrikadaa, Soñ continues to work on theoretical-poetic writing as part of their thesis at the Phd in Practice in Vienna. Other upcoming projects include solo exhibitions at Kunstraum Niederösterreich in Vienna (2023) and Galerie Carole Kvasnevski in Paris (2023).

Soñ Gweha/SOÑXSEED's works and DJ sets and performances have been presented at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna ('The Taste of Water', 2022-23), Palais de Tokyo and Galeria Municipais in Portugal ('Sarah Maldoror, Cinema Tricontinental, 2021-22), Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway ('Sex Ecologies', 2021), Mumok in Vienna (2022), Arsenic-Lausanne (2022), La Station Culturelle, Martinique (2022), Bétonsalon (2020), Mostra des Artes Cênicas Negras in Porto Alegre (2020), Musée des Civilisations Noires in Dakar (2018), TU-Théâtre de l'Usine in Geneva (2020), at the Kaiku Club in Helsinki (2019), at the Magasin des horizons - CNAC Grenoble (2019), at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (2019), at the Théâtre de la Cité Internationale in Paris (2018) or the Centre Pompidou (2017), etc.

Soñ Gweha also contributed to the cycle Afrocyberfeminisms at the Gaîté Lyrique in Paris in 2018. The artist also collaborates with the Swiss collective KitchensProsperde since 2021 and in the magazine Atayé since 2016.