Grada Kilomba

Portrait Grada Kilomba
© Hartwig Klappert

Grada Kilomba is an interdisciplinary artist and writer, born in Lisbon and living in Berlin. Her work draws on memory, trauma, and the decolonisation of knowledge: ‘who can speak?’ ‘what can we speak about?’ and ‘what happens when we speak?’ are three constant questions in Kilomba’s body of work. 

She is best known for her unconventional artistic practice and subversive writing, in which she gives body, voice and image to her own texts, using a variety of formats such as performance, staged reading, publication, video, and installation. Her work has been internationally shown at events as varied as 10. Berlin Biennale (2018), Documenta 14 (Kassel, 2017),  32. São Paulo Biennial (2016) and museums and art centres such as e-flux, New York (2019), Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2019), The Power Plant, Toronto (2018), MAAT, Lisbon (2017), Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin (2017), Wits Theater, Johannesburg (2016), among others.

Kilomba’s work has been published in several art catalogues, accompanying her solo exhibitions, the most recent: “Poetic Disobediences” (2019) currently at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo. She is the author of Plantation Memories (Unrast 2008) released at the International Literature Festival Berlin, in 2008; recently  translated and released in Portugal (Orfeu Negro 2019) as well as in Brazil (Cobogó 2019) and premiered at FLIP- International Literature Festival Paraty (2019), where it was celebrated as the bestseller of the Festival.

Kilomba holds a Doctorate in philosophy from the Freie Universität Berlin, and has lectured at several international universities, being last a Guest Professor at the Humboldt Universität Berlin, with her work ‘Performing Knowledge’. Kilomba is represented by Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa.