Okwui Okpokwasili

Okwui Okpokwasili in Andrew Rossi’s documentary film Bronx Gothic, 2017, © Andrew Rossi

The writer, choreographer, and performer Okwui Okpokwasili contributes to, choreographs, and performs in works which interrogate the stability of time, perception, subjectivity, and historical narrative. Okpokwasili employs the somatic as a tool of resistance and as a vector for the recall of knowledge systems forgotten, unknown, or willfully ignored.

For Sitting on a Man’s Head (2018), Okpokwasili collaborated with her partner Peter Born and a number of Berlin-based artists to produce a work that adopts the tactics of a form of protest traditionally practiced by women in eastern Nigeria, metaphorically called “sitting on a man’s head.” Through a collective invasion of seats of power, it was a strategy used to speak back, air grievances, and effect change. Okpokwasili and her collaborators present an unfolding score that can be activated by all who enter the proffered space. Both score and embodied space work in the service of resistance and self-preservation, so we can “come together, find each other, and call out.”

—Nomaduma Rosa Masilela

  • KW Institute for Contemporary Art


Sitting on a Man’s Head, 2018
An unfolding score for a collective utterance, the ongoing making of an I, you, we, and us
Project Design Collaborator Peter Born
Courtesy Okwui Okpokwasili

Commissioned and produced by Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art


Adrian Blount
Alexander Carillo
Andre Neely
Birte Opitz
Danilo Andrés
Dessa Ganda
Diana Thielen
Elvina Pinto
Jenny Ocampo
Josephine Brinkmann
Josephine Findeisen
Khadidiatou Bangoura
Kyle Patrick
Lena Bagutti
Malika Alaoui
Manuel Meza
Martha Hincapié Charry
Maya Gomez
Michelle Moura
Natascha Roy
Noa Mamrud
Rebecca Korang
Riako Napitupulu
Risa Kojima
Sarah Bouars
Wieland Möller
Yaron Maim
Yin Cheng
Yuri Shimaoka
Zwoisy Mears Clarke