Jamila Johnson-Small is a London born and based artist of Caribbean descent. Jamila performs under the name Last Yearz Interesting Negro and makes shows that feature video, sculpture, poetry and dancing, working with in-between spaces, syncopation, trance states, internal narratives, intensities, overwhelm, electronic music and small dances to affect/disrupt/deflect/distort/reflect gaze(s) directed towards their body, and to cope with Being. Resultant choreographies are stage/dreamspace/battleground, working through questions of presence, visibility, responsibility and pleasure, building atmospheric landscapes through the live unfolding of the tensions between things that produce meaning, for situating and expanding (or dismantling) their ‘identity’ and turning it into theatre.
Their current research is around boundaries, betrayal, nonbelonging, scale, pleasure and trans/formation, on personal/structural/symptomatic/somatic levels. Thinking about impact and exchange through/in/as movement, considering the intimacy and treachery of performance.
Not interested in invention or innovation they use things that are already there and rearranges them in an effort to encounter some unholy combination that resonates with the horror, discomfort, cringe, confusion and sensuality of this contemporary moment and their position within it, opening up spaces in thinking, feeling, reading and dancing.The landscapes they create for her dancing body to inhabit with a public, seek to access and utilise her own power for her own ends, disentangling from – or entangling herself further with – the isms that instrumentalise their existence on a daily without consent.
Recent works include i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere and BASICTENSION. Project partners and presenters include ICA (London), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Nuit Blanche (Paris), Block Universe and Gaia Art Foundation (London), Fierce Festival (Birmingham), Buenos Tiempos Int. (Brussels), Konsthall C (Stockholm), Baltic Triennial (Tallinn), ImPulsTanz (Vienna). Regular collaborators include Alexandrina Hemsley (Project O), Phoebe Collings-James (Sounds 4 Survival), Fernanda Munoz-Newsome, Shelley Parker (FuryZ) and Rowdy SS (Fury1, 48hours:).