11 to 21 September 2023
Sean O'Toole interviewed Junior while here on residency for the Uillinn Blog, you can read it here: https://uillinnwestcorkartscentre.blogspot.com/2023/10/interview-with-mufutau-yusuf.html
During my residency Uillinn, I will be exploring ideas around racial and political identity, particularly the politics and experiences of the black body and all its implications and realities. In order to understand my relationship with my black body and its experience in a contemporary western society, I have become particularly interested in the representation, misrepresentation, and lack of representation of the black diaspora. While ruminating on this and looking at my own personal experiences both as an artist and as a diasporic entity, I felt the need to examine notions of visibility and “blackness” in western culture, particularly in contemporary Irish culture. Through Impasse, which is the current working title of the project, I will explore the biased narratives that have been carved on black bodies over the last few centuries and highlight the challenges that come with countering them. These racialised and biased narratives that make black bodies vulnerable to cultural imperialism, violence, exploitation, marginalisation, and powerlessness.
Impasse will question how a black body can occupy spaces while shifting through its historically racial projections and symbols, so to say, its blackness, ‘dirtiness’, crudeness, sexuality, threat, violence? And how can we do this while giving prominence to our civility, power and grace, sensuality, intelligence, joy, love and fluidity? In short, how can the black body reclaim it’s humanity in the face of such turbulent inter-generational lived experience? Through this residency, I would like to explore how this black body can navigate its incongruous self in a space that is yet to truly understand it. With Ireland’s cultural diversity expanding over the last decade, it is still understanding its relationship with ‘otherness’ and I believe this project will contribute to that conversation and perhaps offer another perspective, particularly through dance.
Mufutau Yusuf is a Nigeria-born Irish performer and choreographer based between Ireland and Brussels. A graduate of Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, Mufutau currently works with Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez and in Ireland with Liz Roche Company, John Scott’s IMDT, United Fall, among others. Mufutau debuted his first full length choreographic work in 2022, titled Òwe, which premiered in New York and subsequently at the Dublin Fringe Festival. Mufutau is an associate artist with both Liz Roche Company and Solstice Arts Centre and a recipient of the Irish Arts Council Dance Bursary award in 2020 and the Project Award in 2022.
Irish Arts Council Commission Award through Liz Roche CompanyImage: Mufutau Yusuf, CYD State of Exception, by Luca Trufferelli 2018
WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.