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Michèle Magema

Michèle Magema: What the Sea didn’t Take Off Me

June 26, 4:30-5:00 PM, The Museum of Contemporary Art, yard 


Michèle Magema’s performance “What the Sea didn’t Take Off Me“ takes is cue from the disappearance of 400 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean sea in April 2016. 400 people out of a thousand die every month in the Mediterranean sea in an effort to reach Europe. The work questions processes of migration and the risks taken by people to transgress frontiers.

Magema’s work calls on the memory of the body: the body as the entity which carries in itself the memory of other individuals in the family and in society. Magema’s work situates itself between History with a capital H and individual histories, with her body in action using symbols and repeatedly implementing gestures that become rites. Through artistic action her work is political and a form of resistance to the world.

In the performance “What the Sea didn’t Take Off Me“ Magema acts barefooted and dressed in white with bandages representing the souls of 400 drowned migrants between Egypt and Italy. She traverses a purple powder path of potassium permanganate compound. Potassium permanganate, which is known under the name of "Crystal Condy", is also a medicine that heals the skin and irritations. She traverses this path as a path of appeasement for sick and dead bodies.


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Julie Damgaard Nielsen