Currently lives and works in: Antwerpen, Belgium
I struggle to really view myself as an artist. I just like making stuff and tinkering. I didn’t grow up in a community in which art played a huge role, so most of my references are outside of the canon. I like researching things through my own body and being. In the last few years, I have started to see what I do as a sort of gonzo journalistic performance art practice. It sounds a bit like good marketing, but essentially it’s about undertaking a creative form of research. Often it results in a performance, but the last few years the results seem to be going in different directions.
Areas of interest:
– work with non-performers (performers without a classical arts education)
– intersections between sport and art
– performativity of language learning
– pedagogical potential of performance in language learning
MagiC Carpets project
We undertook the project “Klapping” in Riga during Homo Novus in 2019. Klapping is a cross-genre project centred around the attempt to create a new street dance/culture. It is an attempt to make this new street dance, Klapping, viral by training up new Klappers in each city and indulging in the other phenomena which define and validate a street culture.
What inspires you as an artist?: Football, film, language learning
What do you think is the purpose of art?: I think that through art we can reach a sort of unexpected nuance that hopefully opens our mind.
Your favourite book(s): Hopscotch, Julio Cortázar, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jnr, Gorilla, Shobashakthi, A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, The Lebs, Mohammad Ahmed
Your favourite film(s): Tony Manero, Un Prophete, Je T’aime Moi Non Plus, Japón
Past projects you are proud of:
Title: Language Trilogy (Homo Novus 2017)
Type: Performance, Performance Art
Brief description: Valodas triloģija / Language Trilogy is a project Ahilan which was commissioned by the Latvian festival Homo Novus. The project was born out of a desire to investigate the power of language in the society in a practical and non-academic manner. In Homo Novus, this resulted in the creation of three different works:
Bille 24 stundās / Bille in 24 hours A reading of the seminal Latvian novel Bille (Vizma Belševica) by Venuri Pereira. During the period of 24 hours, she attempted to read the entire book with no knowledge of Latvian and only the help of spectators;
Perfektais migrants / The Perfect migrant a solo in which Ahilan attempted to be the perfect migrant in Latvia, starting with the language;
Ārzemnieks / Foreigner a language game played by four migrants in Latvian with a local audience
Title: Star Boy Collective (2011 – present)
Brief description: The Star Boy Collective started through the performance Michael Essien I want to play as you… which was a collaboration with a group of Nigerian and Cameroonian football migrants looking at the football industry from their perspective. After this initial performance a collective formed quite organically through which we have now made 4 performances in total. Lateef Babatunde, Etuwe Bright Junior and Aloys Kwaakum are the core of the collective.