Jelili Atiku

Work for Live Art Denmark
2016 Collaboration with Alette Scavenius for COLAB Copenhagen
2022 Performance “Who Knows Not One Thing Knows Another (Aláráagbó XIX)” and talk at Friisland, 2022 Performance “ỌLỌ́MỌYỌYỌ” at Live Art for Børn in Aarhus.

COLAB Copenhagen
For the COLAB program, Jelili teamed up with Alette Scavenius, Head of Theatre Collections at the Royal Library in Copenhagen. In the video below we hear excerpts from their conversations about memory and how to preserve it, in body and documentation, while we follow a series of performances in galleries and public spaces Jelili organized and performed in in Copenhagen, and an audience talk. The performances are based on animistic rituals Jelili was exposed to at an early age. Today they form the basis of much of his artistic work.

Who Knows Not One Thing Knows Another (Aláráagbó XIX)
For his performance that considered issues of migration, ecology and human rights, Jelili had created a costume from plastic waste found on the transformatory site of the newest part of Copenhagen, Nordhavnsspidsen, which is situated right outside our project space Friisland. He took the audience on an adventurous walk by the seaside and into the artifically created wasteland, where we discovered  traces of human intervention as well as traces of nature taking back the land, all in a hightened awareness caused by the ritual character of the piece.

Later that evening, Jelili provided insights into his artistic practice in an impromptu lecture. Excerpts of both the walking performance and the lecture are included in the video below.

Photo Henrik Vestergaard

When we invited Jelili to participate in the 2022 edition of our Live Art for Children festival in Aarhus, he responded by organising a ritual procession through the city center of Aarhus together with his collegue Aweni Kudirat Apata. Jelili, Aweni and a group of local volunteers, all clad in yellow, carried 200 wooden statues of the goddess Koris, who is a protector of children’s health and spirit in the Nigerian Yoruba religion, and other benevolent spirits, irunmole. Unforgettable images where created along the route through the Danish town, drawing attention to the issues of children’s rights and welfare.

All photos by Henrik Vestergaard.

Watch the video of Jelili’s activities in Denmark 2022 here:

About the Artist
Jelili Atiku is a Nigerian multimedia artist with political concerns for human rights and justice. Through drawing, installation, sculpture, photography, video and performance (live art) he strives to help viewers understand the world and expand their understanding and experiences, so that they can activate and renew their life and environment. For over a decade, Jelili has put his art at service of the prevailing concerns of our times, especially those issues threatening our collective existence and the sustenance of our universe. His concerns often focus on the psychosocial and emotional effects of traumatic events such as violence, war, poverty, corruption, climate change etc., associated with our warring world.

Born on Friday 27th September 1968 in Ejigbo (Lagos), Nigeria, Jelili was trained at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria and University of Lagos, Nigeria, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) and a Master of Arts (Visual Arts) respectively. He is presently the project leader of Art Africa Forum, the artistic Director of AFiRIperFOMA – a collective of performance artists in Africa, and Chief Coordinator of Advocate for Human Rights Through Art (AHRA).

Read more on Jelili’s website (last updated in 2013), and in English Wikipedia.

Om liveart_dk was founded in 2004 in Copenhagen to promote the discussion, documentation and development of live art in Denmark. The organisation is equally inspired by the imaginative and entertaining English Live Art tradition as by the theoretical and political German theatre tradition. We have organised 10 large international festivals of Live Art for kids and adults since 2004, and over 40 discussion events, books, video series, symposia and more in the field of live art, performance art, art criticism and documentation. We collaborate with theatres, music venues, art museums and festivals in Denmark and internationally.