ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art 2019

For the first time ever, ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival is proud to present the shortlisted artists of The ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art during the 2019 Festival in Kuopio where each shortlisted artist/collective performs their work. Shortlist LIVE! is a completely new and unique entity of events around the prize in which the shortlisted artists are performed live during ANTI Festival, and the winner of the prize is decided by the jury after the performances.

Four outstanding contemporary artists/collectives are once again set to compete for the prize. The 2019 shortlisted artists are Cuqui Jerez (Spain), Dana Michel (Canada), Keijaun Thomas (USA) and Mammalian Diving Reflex (Canada).

ANTI Festival’s Artistic Directors Johanna Tuukkanen and Gregg Whelan are excited about the shortlist and the new Shortlist LIVE! programme:

“The 2019 ANTI Prize for Live Art shortlist features four artists who collectively, from four quite different ways of working and from four strikingly different contexts, offer a powerful and hugely compelling reminder of the social and political agency of Live Art. Their work also reminds us how engaging, entertaining and enthralling great art can be. It’s a thrilling list and for the first time the Shortlist LIVE! programme will bring these remarkable artists to ANTI to present their work to the prize jury and festival audience alike. It’s going to be an incredibly exciting week; see you there!”


ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival takes place between 10th and 15th September 2019. The new Shortlist LIVE! program takes place on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th and the winner of The ANTI Festival International Price for Live Art will be announced at the prize party on Saturday night 14th September.


Shortlist 2019

Cuqui Jerez (ES)

Cuqui Jerez. Photo: Dani Canto.

Cuqui Jerez. Photo: Dani Canto.

Cuqui Jerez is a Spanish choreographer and performer who lives and works in Madrid and Berlin. After working as a dancer and performer with various choreographers in Europe in the nineties, she began to develop her choreographic work in 2001. Since then, she has created pieces of different natures that have been presented at numerous festivals in Europe, USA and Latin America.

Cuqui Jerez describes her work as a tool to understanding the performative act. While her work entails many techniques from performance to text and even fireworks, she considers all of her practices as choreographies. She is obsessed with creating new realities and new languages through space, time, objects and bodies. According to Jerez she is focused on constructing in space, but she cannot separate space from time.

Her main activity is the creation, but she also participates in various research, curatorial, publishing and teaching projects.

Dana Michel (CA)

Dana Michel. Photo: Richmond Lam.

Dana Michel. Photo: Richmond Lam.

Dana Michel is a choreographer and live artist whose works interact with the expanded fields of improvisation, sculpture, hip-hop, comedy, cinematography, dub, and social commentary to create centrifuge of experience.

In 2014, Michel was awarded the newly created ImPulsTanz Award in recognition for outstanding artistic accomplishments, and was highlighted among notable female choreographers of the year by the New York Times. In 2017, she was awarded the Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance at the Venice Biennale.  In 2018, she became the first ever dance artist in residence at the National Arts Centre, Canada. Based in Montreal, she is an associate artist with Par.B.L.eux.

Michel is currently touring two solo performance works, Yellow Towel and Mercurial George. She will premier her new solo performance work, Cutlass Spring, in 2019.

Keijaun Thomas (US)

Keijaun Thomas’s work in performance, multimedia installation, and poetry explores the labor of black femmes in situations ranging from housework and hairdressing to athletic training and exotic dancing.

Keijaun Thomas. Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk.

Keijaun Thomas. Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk.

Her performances combine rhapsodic layers of live and recorded voice, and her poems slip between various modes of address, exploring the pleasures and pressures of dependency, care, and support. Thomas underscores the endurance and intimacy care work demands of those expected to perform it – predominantly black women, black femmes and people of color. Thomas is currently based in New York, NY.

Keijaun Thomas aims to build bridges of understanding, community and care through her pieces. Her work centers and focuses on self/communal care in real time and building safer spaces for black and people of color to rethink, rework and reflect on the collective ancestral memory, differences as well as make space for our similarities.

Mammalian Diving Reflex (CA)

Mammalian Diving Reflex. Photo:Martin Steffan

Mammalian Diving Reflex. Photo:Martin Steffan

Founded by Artistic Director, Darren O’Donnell in 1993, Mammalian is a research-art atelier dedicated to investigating the social sphere, always on the lookout for contradictions to whip into aesthetically scintillating experiences.


They are a culture production workshop that creates site and social-specific performances, theatre-based productions, gallery installations, videos, art objects and theoretical texts. Mammalian’s body of work is interconnected, varied and vibrant, reflecting the company’s unique and growing body of knowledge and expertise on the use and function of culture. In all its forms, the company’s work dismantles barriers between individuals of all ages, cultural, economic and social backgrounds and, using performance as their excuse, finds new ways of being together.


Mammalian Diving Reflex does not tour with finished projects, but creates each project anew in each location, in collaboration with local producers, artists, performers and participants.