Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

2020 PEW FELLOW
Updated
5 Feb 2021

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Jaamil sits on a brown leather couch gazing at the camera. They are lit from the side by natural light. They have dark skin, short facial hair, and a shaved head and are wearing a long dress with a large blue & white geometric pattern and gold necklace.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

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Jaamil sits on a brown leather couch gazing at the camera. They are lit from the side by natural light. They have dark skin, short facial hair, and a shaved head and are wearing a long dress with a large blue & white geometric pattern and a gold necklace.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

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Jaamil stands gazing at the camera, visible from the chest up. They have dark skin, short facial hair, and a shaved head and are wearing a sheer white robe with a geometric metallic necklace and gold earrings.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

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Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Eric Carter.

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Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Sarah Griffith, courtesy of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

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Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo by Sarah Griffith, courtesy of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

“I am especially interested in presenting narratives that disrupt conventional performance to recast the historical positionality of the Black body, confront trauma, and offer creative processes for healing.”

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko’s performance works incorporate elements of dance, music, poetry, film, and visual art to reflect on Black and queer identity. His work employs historical events and archival relics to speak to contemporary life and explores how performance can serve as a platform to negotiate difference and create new modes of understanding. In Chameleon—a live performance piece that includes poetry, music, film, a podcast, and a syllabus—Kosoko draws on the words of Octavia Butler, Audre Lorde, and Luther Vandross “as a map to locate moments of spiritual and psychological freedom,” he says. He has toured widely, presenting his work at US venues such as Abrons Art Center, Danspace Project, Art Basel Miami, and FringeArts and abroad at the Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival in Norway, Brighton Festival in England, and Tanz im August in Germany, among others. He has received a National Dance Project Award, a Princeton Arts Fellowship, and a Cave Canem Fellowship. Kosoko has an MA in performance curation from the Institute of Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.