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Lorin Sookool

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Short Biography

Lorin Sookool is a contemporary artist with a dance foundation. Her interdisciplinary practice encompasses performance, sound, costuming, photography and film. Sookool explores complex South African socio-political themes, with a focus on situations of racial, gendered, systemic and institutionalized violence. Her artistic practice and creative trajectory has its roots in a practice-based research that is intuitive in nature and has an emergent design. It follows a process-based approach that searches for the relationship between personal and collective themes, thereby becoming a reflective, reflexive, subject-centred practice.

Sookool is currently an MA candidate supported by the Institution for Creative Arts (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) at the University of Cape Town, ZA. Her research inquiry is the relationship between decoloniality and improvisational dance practice, which is a key element in her work. in 2023 she received the Standard Bank Artist award for Dance.

Liverpool Biennial 2023

In June 2023 Sookool performed a solo offering for the Liverpool Biennial. The artist statement read as follows: 

Woza Wenties! Is a partly autobiographical solo offering by dance and performance artist Lorin Sookool. “Woza!” means “Come!” in isiZulu, the indigenous language of the region KwaZulu Natal, a former British colony, where the artist was born and raised. The language is, paradoxically, not spoken fluently by them, despite locality and lineage. “Wenties” refers to the notorious so-called coloured township within the region; Wentworth - Sookool’s birthplace. (“coloured” refers to the apartheid-era legally defined racial classification for people of mixed ancestral lineages).


Woza Wenties! summons negated aspects of their specific experience of blackness, within the complex South African identity tapestries.The offering investigates “unruliness” as an act of self-acceptance, self-assertion and ancestral(re)conciliation, by examining the school and church systems as agents of the colonial project, moulding brown and black bodies through their codes of conduct, disciplining them to perform whiteness. It is a call to consciousness that which was, is, and will always remain: uMoya. 

Below images by Mark McNulty

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Biennale de la Danse en Afrique 2023

In November 2023 Woza Wenties! was offered on the African Biennale platform in Mozambique. A link to the full offering is available on request. A teaser may be found linked below.

  • Youtube

"Gogga" - meaning insect or creepy-crawly, is one of the few remaining words from the Khoi and San indigenous peoples of southern Afruika - a dance film by Lorin Sookool. It responds to the provocation to contribute to the global conversation on climate change from a South African point of view, centering her own inclinations to realign to natural state via a reaffirmation of indigeneity as a so-called coloured person - an ongoing theme in her recent artistic explorations.

Commission:  Christoph Winkler Company

With thanks: Bodhi Khaya Residency

Pina Bausch Fellowship recipient 2021

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In June 2021 Sookool became the first South African to receive this honourable award since its inception in 2016.  

The Pina Bausch Fellowship allows each awarded artist the opportunity to engage in a process-orientated cooperation with an international choreographer of their choice.

Sookool's choice was Roberto Castello, one of Italy's pioneers in contemporary dance and improvisation, whom she had the pleasure to meet in 2019 at Kinani in Mozambique. The choice followed Sookool's growing interest in improvisation and this fellowship marked a turning point in her work and processes.


Click here to view the Pina Bausch website for a view of the journey.


Following on from the Fellowship cooperation Sookool was invited by ALDI (directed by Roberto Castello) to participate in the creation of "Dance Concert" together with Giselda Ranieri (IT) and Elisabeth Schilling (DE) in Italy in 2022. After a 6 week residency at SPAM! (Network for Contemporary Arts) they performed Dance Concert, an entirely improvised dance work at Umbria Dance Festival (Perugia), Carne (Bologna), San Rocco Festival (Marina di Grosseto) and SPAM! (Porcari).

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Remote Co-Residency Project 2020

"Prayer Room"
Naledi Award Nomination 2022

Prayer room is an audio-visual response to a two-month telephonic research process which looked into to the lived realities and perceptions of support, of three senior citizens based in Durban, during Covid-19. It was created through Co-Residency, a remote residency that aims to assist artists in crisis, over 12 weeks during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The Blunt Blades of Bravado

This experimental short film, supported by NATi, premiered on the Vrystaat Kunstewees online festival in October 2020.

The Blunt Blades of Bravado is a visual contemplation of sub-street cultures that form in response to a deep-seated lack of faith in national governmental systems. It unfolds in response to the long-held stereotypical notion of coloured people as “reactive” and “violent” people, offering a meditative perspective into the nature of these complex reoccurring behavioural patterns.

Read about the work in Culture Review magazine here.

An interview link about the work can be located here.

Sookool was awarded a Fellowship through the Institute for Create Arts (ICA) in which I received the opportunity to create a digital aspect of the work, using footage from the film.

The intention with this digital aspect was to distil and highlight the essence of The Blunt Blades of Bravado; retaining its essence whilst applying additional opportunities that digital design has to offer, in order to create an alternate experience of the work.

You can view the Fellowship creation here.

The above clip is a 2 minute slice of an 11 minute dance film, captured by Tania Vossgatter, in which Sookool traces a visual and choreographic response to the research process findings. Sookool found this process beautifully intimate and honest and these ladies became for them, a haven of sorts, during this difficult time. The process itself lends influence to the title. Inserting Sookool's own politics into the rising God and spirituality themes (during our telephonic conversations) became a point of challenge and she tried to reflect herself as honestly as she could, whilst maintaining respect for these three, essentially grandmother figures. In her view, these are voices of the everyday black grandmother figure that many of POCs can relate to.

Prayer Room was presented on the My Body My Space 2021 online festival as well as the Chicago Dances film club in the same year.

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Project on going

on going, is an on-going solo artistic project that contemplates Sookool's journey as a grieving single mother who sustains herself through her artistic and cultural work. 

Through her practice, the artist suggests that the creative journey and life-journey become two intertwined entities that need not be separated. Motherhood, mourning and the act of working are inseparable experiences. Her way of experiencing and witnessing her own grief is reflected in the process of creating this work, as well as the on-going nature of it.

The work is expected to gradually evolve over time with multiple iterations, mediums and presentations, reflecting the artist’s ever evolving journey through grief and life.

Iteration i (supported by the African Culture Fund and previewed in Sookool’s home, June 2022) is a performative film-screening, engaging with videography, dance, writing and performance art (video footage on request). A creative response by writer and theatre practitioner, Koleka Putuma, can be found below. 

Iteration ii (commissioned by the Vrystaat Kunstewees, October 2022) is a movement theatre offering. This iteration was also presented at the Liverpool Biennial artist announcement event in November 2022, a link to this iteration can be found below.

on going moves back and forth in time presenting the grief journey alongside elements of Sookool’s daily life and lived experiences within the surrounding lived environment in Muizenberg, Cape Town. It draws from the areas local politics (a private reconstruction project of the delapidated colourful touristic beach huts) as a metaphor for homelessness, broken homes, and a troubled "rainbow nation". Although the work connects to wider socioeconomic imaginings, its use of recited personal diary entries and personal video footage place it in the sphere of autobiography.

**The artist is seeking project funding to develop this project into an accessible tool for people looking to engage with their own grief journey through movement, poetry and meditation. Please contact Lorin Sookool if you are interested in assisting this endeavour and to find out more about it.

Iteration I:
A Reflection



A version of "ongoing" was presented at Constellations at Spier Wine Farm, curated by Brett Bailey. Click below for an interview with The Cape Robyn.

#ColouredConversations: The Forgotten Ones

Arts and Culture Trust

This project aimed to create an intergenerational dialogue within the community of Wentworth around topics such as the term ‘coloured’, what this grouping has meant historically and politically, Wentworth as a community “pre” and “post” Democracy, and the daily realities of these participating senior citizens.

For further information about the project's activities and outcomes, here is a link to the Facebook page.

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Mulato Sujo?

A live music and dance performance held 30 Oct - 1 Nov at Theatre Arts in Cape Town.

Pro Helvetia Johannesburg

This was initially a research project entitled Mixed Not Diluted in which Sookool would have travelled to Mozambique. The manifestation of the project had to be adapted due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

The project commenced as a one-on-one workshopped creation process with Mozambican-born Cape Town based dancer/musician Sumalgy Nuro.

What resulted was an intimate live performance centered around aspects of identity which was reviewed on The Cape Robyn.


A Brief Retrospective

Independent work 2016-2019
Links included in descriptions.

"Back" by PJ Sabbagha

Afro Vibes 2018