repose without rest without end

Okwui Okpokwasili
Peter Born

Repose without rest without end
Okwui Okpokwasili
40 min

In 2022, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting River To River Festival for the presentation of repose without rest without end by Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born

Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born’s new video and sound installation takes its point of departure from Okpokwasili’s performance work Adaku’s Revolt. This new piece focuses on a young Black girl who, as she is coming of age, rejects imposed beauty standards. She stops straightening her hair in refusal of the pain and damage created by chemical straighteners and hot irons used to tame unruly curls.

In this new video installation, Okpokwasili draws connections between Adaku’s hair and tree roots. The girl’s refusal becomes a vehicle of resistance from which the artist draws connections with trees whose seeds were transported by fugitive slaves in their hair. These acts of resistance reproduced networks not unlike the way trees communicate through extensive root systems underground. Stories and seeds are passed on through multiple generations of humans and vegetation, refusing trauma while reproducing and celebrating resilience.

Photo : © Patrick Naremore.

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About the artist

Black and white headshot of Okwui Okpokwasili

Okwui Okpokwasili

Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born collaborate on performance, video and installation work, including “Swallow the Moon” at Jacob’s Pillow, “on the way, undone” at the High Line, “Poor People’s TV Room (SOLO) installation” at the New Museum and the Hammer Museum, and “returning” for Danspace Project. Okpokwasili is the recipient of a 2018 Princeton University Hodder Fellowship, a 2018 Herb Alpert, an Antonyo Award, a 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award, and a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship.