Center for Contemporary Art and Culture

Syllabus for Black Love/ the hold by jaamil olawale kosoko


Sep 6 - Oct 14, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at PNCA is pleased to announce the hold, an installation by jaamil olawale kosoko exhibited in partnership with the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of their twentieth annual Time-Based Art Festival, happening September 8–18, 2022.


Exhibition Statement:
jaamil olawale kosoko’s meditative multi-channel film and installation Syllabus for Black
Love serves as the ship inside which the multimedia performance the hold is positioned.
Through rhythmic and restorative gestures, the hold creates a perceptive and somatic
experience for both performer and audience. Merging fabric, lighting, time, and sound art
as sculptural material within Syllabus for Black Love, the hold is an embrace, a place, a time
between time. This performance — featuring an alternating ensemble of
performers/doulas—is a slippery, emerging, chameleonic practice rupturing the borders of
reality, theatricality, and the digital realm. Jumping through and bending the time-space
continuum, the hold behaves as both arrival and exit—a birth passage into the nuance of
Black lives attempting the critical and alchemical work of self-examination, discovery, and

Artist Bio:

jaamil olawale kosoko is a multi-spirited Nigerian American author, performance artist, and
curator of Yoruba and Natchez descent originally from Detroit, MI. jaamil’s practice is
conceptual and process based, fluidly moving within the creative realms of live art
performance, video, sculpture, and poetry. Through rooted ritual and spiritual practice,
embodied poetics, Black critical studies, and queer theories of the body, kosoko conjures
and crafts perpetual modes of freedom, healing, and care when/where/however possible.
jaamil is the recipient of awards including the 2022 Slamdance Jury Prize for Best
Experimental Short film, 2021/22 MacDowell Fellowship, 2020 Pew Fellowship in the Arts,
2020 NCCAkron Creative Administrative Fellowship, 2019 NPN Creation & Development
Fund award, 2019 Red Bull Arts Fellowship, 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in
Choreography, 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellowship, 2018 NEFA National Dance Project
Award, 2018-20 New York Live Arts Live Feed Residency, 2017 Cave Canem Poetry
Fellowship, and consecutive 2016-2020 USArtists International Awards from the
Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.
Blending poetry and memoir, conversation and performance theory, their book Black Body
Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts, was released Spring 2022. Black Body Amnesia:
LIVE, the performance reading, is a live theatrical event that examines the shapeshifting,
illegible, and fugitive realities of Black diasporan people negotiating the psychic lifeworlds
of living inside the American context. It is performed with an alternating ensemble of
performers including jaamil olawale kosoko, Raymond Pinto, mayfield brooks, DJ Maij, and
features original sound compositions by Everett-Asis Saunders. In this new work, kosoko
uses complexity theory—which they define as the study of adaptive survivalist strategies
inside complex networks or environments—as a performance device. From this artistic
vantage point, the artist explores how minoritarianized communities record and affirm
their existence through collaborative actions and protests, and how they then archive these
personal freedom narratives to subvert culturally charged fields of systemic oppression,
loss, and erasure.

About PICA and TBA:22

TBA:22 illuminates what is new and extraordinary. It wrestles with the unanswered and
unanswerable. It pushed against this edge of what it means to make—and who can
participate in—contemporary art. In addition to performances, exhibitions, dance parties,
our new NIGHT SCHOOL program, and our Fall 2022 Creative Exchange Lab, come hang
out, sip, ponder, and re/connect between and after programs at our on-site Festival bar.
TBA:22 will feature international, national, and regional artists, World and West Coast
Premieres, local partners, and accessible sites and spaces across the city. This September,
we invite you to come together—in the twenty-year spirit of TBA—to experience a festival
like no other.