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Jolie Ngemi “NKISI” and Joshua Serafin “PEARLS” – HAU Hebbel am Ufer | 22.03.-23.03.2024

Editors’ Choice

HAU Hebbel am Ufer presents two dance performances on March 22 and 23, 2024 in HAU 2 and HAU 3: Jolie Ngemi with “NKISI” and Joshua Serafin with “PEARLS”. Both performances can be attended with a combined ticket.

Image above: Joshua Serafin – PEARLS © Michiel Devijver

Jolie Ngemi – “NKISI”

Animist beliefs are still widely held in the Congo, but their expression is only a taboo, hidden or even cursed shadow. “Nkisi” is a word in Lingala, the mother tongue of Jolie Ngemi. It can commonly mean “remedy”, “witchcraft”, “medicine”, or designate a sacred fetish. As a large part of the population lives in poverty, any success is questioned. It is said that the person who succeeds must have touched the Nkisi, used witchcraft and called upon mystical spirits. Before the colonization such women were also called Nkisi, who were asked by the kings to carry out magic rituals to prevent misfortunes. The dancer, choreographer and musician Jolie Ngemi places traditional Nkisi knowledge at the centre of her solo performance and rekindles the flame of its healing power. Nkisi aims to transport the audience into a world of female superhero powers. A journey in which one abandons oneself totally as in a daydream where the physical and psychic worlds collide. What has remained of these practices? Can they once again be ascribed power in today’s crisis-ridden world? And who could these powerful Nkisi women be today, these mediators of occult powers who were once the secret advisors of kings?

Choreography and performance: Jolie Ngemi / Playwright: Jeremy Nedd / Set design: Laura Knüsel / Lighting design and stage management: Alain Caron / Production, administration and distribution: Moin Moin Production – Caroline Froelich et Le Voisin, Anna Ladeira

Joshua Serafin – PEARLS

In their artistic exploration, Joshua Serafin deals with the social, psychological and physical fractures caused by colonialism and imperialism. For the work “PEARLS”, the multi-media artist gets their inspiration by the nonnormative genders celebrated in the precolonial Philippines. Together with the artists Lukresia Quismundo and Bunny Cadag, Serafin sheds the imposed gender binary they have inherited from colonial culture and goes in search of the spiritual roots of Philippine society. With a look to colonial history, the three performers negotiate their diverse gender existence as an idea about an alternative blueprint for the future. “Pearls” thus becomes a healing exercise that offers space for experiences of queer, transgender people of color and is able to transform painful, dark histories into something beautiful: similar to pearls, which are formed from shells by abrasive particles.

“PEARLS” is the last part of the trilogy “Cosmological Gangbang”. The second part, “VOID”, was shown at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in June 2023. Joshua Serafin is also part of the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale 2024.

Concept: Joshua Serafin / Performance: Joshua Serafin, Quismundo, Bunny Cadag / Sound design: Lilienfeld / Scenography: RV / Light design: Fudetani / Costume design: Katrien Baetslé / Video: Federico Vladimir Strate Pezdirc / Artistic assistant: Rasa Alksnyte / Research: Outside eye: Arco Renz


Friday, 22. March 2024 and Saturday 23. March 2024

Jolie Ngemi “NKISI” at 7 pm
Joshua Serafin “PEARLS” at 8:30 pm


Jolie Ngemi “NKISI”:

Tempelhofer Ufer 10,
10963 Berlin

Joshua Serafin “PEARLS”:

Hallesches Ufer 34,
10963 Berlin


Single tickets:
Regular: 17,00 EUR
Reduced: 9,00 EUR
Tanzcard: 14,00 EUR

Combi-Ticket “NKISI” + “PEARLS”
Regular: 25,00 EUR
Reduced: 15,00 EUR

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