Miskhin Gallery presents Josèfa Ntjam: Holy Water, in discussion with Mami Wata
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
135 East 22nd Street
Holy Water, in discussion with Mami Wata
Thursday, November 3, 2022
Free, in person at Mishkin Gallery
In conjunction with the current exhibition Who Speaks for the Oceans?, Josèfa Ntjam debuts a newly commissioned multimedia performance based on mythologies of Mami Wata, a celebrated half-fish and half-human water goddess in Haitian Vodou symbolizing fertility and good fortune.
Ntjam is a Saint-Étienne-based artist, performer and writer whose practice combines sculpture, photomontage, film and sound. Gleaning the raw material of her work from the internet and books on natural sciences, Ntjam uses assemblage – of images, words, sounds, and stories – as a method to deconstruct the grand narratives underlying hegemonic discourses on origin, identity and race. Her work weaves multiple narratives drawn from investigations into historical events, scientific functions, or philosophical concepts, to which she confronts references to African mythology, ancestral rituals, religious symbolism and science-fiction. These apparently heterogeneous discourses and iconographies are marshaled together in an effort to re-appropriate History while speculating on not-yet-determined space-times – 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.
Upcoming exhibitions include Les Portes du possible. Art & science-fiction, Centre Pompidou, Metz, FR (2022), and a solo show at FACT, Liverpool (2022–23). Ntjam is a member of Paris-based art & research collective Black(s) to the Future.
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Josèfa Ntjam, Mélas de Saturne, 2020, screenshot of the film, 14′, Courtesy Josèfa Ntjam & Sean Hart.